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Health Advisory Board


Donald A. Henderson

Dean Emeritus
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Honorary Member

D.A. Henderson is a distinguished scholar at the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC and a professor of public health and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He is Dean Emeritus and Professor of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a founding director (1998) of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies. From November 2001 through April 2003, he served as the director of the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and, later, as Principal Science Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Henderson's previous positions include:  Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President (1990-93); Dean of the Faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (1977-90; formerly the School of Public Health and Hygiene); and Director of the World Health Organization's global smallpox eradication campaign (1966-77).

In 2002, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. He is the recipient of the National Medal of Science; the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal; and the Japan Prize, shared with two colleagues. He has received honorary degrees from 17 universities and special awards from 19 countries.

Dr. Henderson serves as an advisor to many organizations in the United States and abroad. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine; a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; an honorary fellow of the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico; an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London; an honorary member of the Royal Society of Medicine; and is a fellow of a number of professional medical and public health societies.

In June 2009, Prometheus books published a new book by Dr. Henderson entitled "Smallpox: Death of a Disease". It is a personal account of the challenges, obstacles and disasters faced by an intrepid international program in achieving the global eradication of smallpox. It is already in its second printing.

Dr. Henderson is Coeditor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice and Science. Additionally, he has authored more than 200 articles and scientific papers, 31 book chapters, and is coauthor of the renowned Smallpox and Its Eradication (Fenner F, Henderson DA, Arita I, Jezek A, and Ladnyi ID. 1988. Geneva: World Health Organization), the authoritative history of the disease and its ultimate demise.

Dr. Henderson, a Lakewood, Ohio native, graduated from Oberlin College, from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He served as a medical resident at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York.