Dr. D.A. Henderson Visits CCGHE

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L-R: Matt Robinson, Bahkti Hansoti, Prar Vasudevan (front), Natasha Chida (back), Geneva Phillips, D.A. Henderson, Bob Bollinger, Akshay Gupte, Jeff Tornheim, Molly Bowen. Photo by Matt Williams

Baltimore, MD—Drs. Bob Bollinger and Amita Gupta and CCGHE fellows and staff welcomed Dr. D.A. Henderson, past Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and perhaps best known as Director of the World Health Organization’s Global Smallpox Eradication Program during the 1960s and 70s.
Dr. Henderson discussed the public health and political contexts of the eradication program, and offered stories about the challenges faced and the often creative ideas employed to overcome them. In one such example in India, the program discovered that advertising smallpox vaccination through traditional flyers wasn’t proving an effective means of communication. So vaccination was advertised on the sides of elephants and handlers walked them through the streets, where they drew big crowds. The program’s challenges demanded unconventional ideas, and Dr. Henderson set up the program’s administrative arm to be agile and supportive of the goal. He noted “If we had an invoice that said ‘hiring an elephant,’ it was paid along with everything else.”
CCGHE Director Dr. Bob Bollinger expressed appreciation for the discussion and the insider’s view: “D.A. has a great story to tell that no one else can. Personal, on-the-ground experiences resonate with people, and as a clinician and as an educator and mentor of emerging clinicians, I appreciate the insight that D.A. offers.”