Dr. Donald A. Henderson, founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, was named yesterday to oversee the federal government's response to public health emergencies, including the recent anthrax attacks.
His appointment as director of the newly created Office of Public Health Preparedness was announced yesterday by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.
"Dr. Henderson brings a lifetime of preparation for the demands of this job, and we are fortunate to have him join the department on a full-time basis," Thompson said. Henderson, who is 73, directed the World Health Organization's successful campaign to eradicate smallpox from 1966 to 1977 and later served as dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Henderson has directed the Hopkins biodefense center for four years, working to raise awareness of the medical and public health threats posed by bioterrorism. Dr. Tara O'Toole, who has served as deputy director of the Hopkins center, will immediately replace Henderson as director.
In addition to his new position, Henderson will continue to head a national advisory council on public health preparedness, a post to which he was recently appointed.
Thompson also appointed Dr. Philip K. Russell, 69, a retired U.S. Army general, to join HHS as a special adviser on vaccine development and production. Russell is a professor in the Hopkins center for immunization research.