DR. ‘DA’ HENDERSON DIES
By JOHN S. DAVIS, M.D. • excerpt from The Freeman’s Journal
COOPERSTOWN – Dr. Donald (DA) Henderson, whom the New York Times heralded as a “leader of one of mankind’s greatest public health triumphs, the eradication of smallpox,” when he died Friday, Aug. 19, spent much time in Cooperstown from 1955 until just a few years ago.
Currently, there is no evidence of naturally occurring smallpox transmission anywhere in the world. Although a worldwide immunization program eradicated smallpox disease decades ago, small quantities of smallpox virus officially still exist in two research laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Russia. The public health sector are still fighting many existing infectious diseases around the world, such as malaria and cholera. These diseases, endemic to mostly, poorer countries around the World, are a global issue. Concerns are being raised about the shortage in public health professionals and so universities such as the University of Arizona are promoting public health internships. Internships are a fantastic way of getting into a professional field, with on-hand experience. Nana came to Cooperstown for his internship in medicine at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital. In 1958 when the US Public Health Service assigned him to Bassett as assistant resident in medicine and research fellow.
In 1988, he was a founding member of the Medical Alumni Association of the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and attended many of its annual meetings in Cooperstown through the years, remaining on the Association’s Board of Directors through to his death…