Dr. Donald Ainslie Henderson, a leader of the international effort to eradicate smallpox – considered one of public health’s greatest successes – and a former dean of what is now the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, died Friday. He was 87.
The self-described “disease detective” also served as an adviser on bioterrorism to several presidents.
Dr. Henderson, universally known as D.A., died at a hospice facility in Towson, Maryland, from complications from a hip fracture.
“D. A. was known and respected throughout the world,” Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87, the current dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told faculty, staff and students on Saturday. “He was an incredible raconteur who had, it seemed, a million stories about his life in public health, ranging from the influenza epidemic of 1957 to running the WHO smallpox program to initiating and leading our nation’s preparedness and response efforts for bioterrorism. Public health has lost a hero and we have lost a great friend and colleague.”