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Donald A. Henderson was born in Lakewood, Ohio. He received his A.B. in 1950 from Oberlin College and his M.D. in 1954 from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He served both an internship (1954-1955) and a residency (1957-1959) in medicine at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital. Between his internship and residency he worked in the epidemiology intelligence service of the Communicable Disease Center (CDC). In 1960, Henderson received an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, and thereupon embarked on a career in public health epidemiology with various appointments at the CDC. From 1966 to 1977, Henderson directed the smallpox eradication program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and also was instrumental in initiating WHO’s poliomyelitis eradication program. He returned to Johns Hopkins in 1977 to become dean of the School of Hygiene and Public Health and professor of epidemiology and international health. After retiring in 1990, he was appointed associate director for the life sciences division of the U.S. President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. From 1993 to 1995, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Senior Science Advisor, Department of Health and Human Services. Henderson then directed the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Scope and Content

The Donald A. Henderson Collection spans his entire career at Johns Hopkins. The material is arranged by topic and includes newspaper articles, honors, biographical material, lecture notes, speeches, and correspondence. Major topics covered are smallpox, polio, measles, and vaccinations. Awards such as the Japan Prize and the Public Welfare Medal are also included. Additional Henderson material can be found in the records of the School of Hygiene and Public Health.

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