Former CDC director dies

David Sencer, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1966 through 1977, died in Atlanta on Monday due to complications with heart disease, according to the New York Times. He was 86. Sencer coordinated the CDC's effo

Megan Scudellari
May 5, 2011

David SpencerCDC'S PUBLIC HEALTH IMAGE LIBRARYDavid Sencer, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1966 through 1977, died in Atlanta on Monday due to complications with heart disease, according to the New York Times. He was 86.

Sencer coordinated the CDC's effort with international partners to successfully eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. "He said you couldn't protect US citizens from smallpox without getting rid of it in the world, and that was a new approach," William H. Foege, who succeeded Sencer as CDC director, told the NYT. "People in the field got all the praise, but he was the unsung hero."

But Sencer is perhaps better known for his role in the controversial 1976 swine flu vaccination campaign, when he recommended nationwide vaccination against the flu after several cases were identified in New Jersey. More than 40 million Americans were vaccinated, the Associated Press...

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