Remembered for directing the United States' 1976 swine flu immunization initiative, this public health leader also served during the 1980s as New York City's Health Commissioner and during the 1960s and '70s as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
After studying at Wesleyan University and serving in the United States Navy, he earned a medical degree from the University of Michigan. He went on to attend Harvard University's graduate public health program.
As director of the CDC, he was successful in implementing a major smallpox prevention initiative, first in Africa and later in other areas of the world.
His marriage to Jane Blood Sencer resulted in two daughters and one son. His daughters, Ann and Susan, both had careers in medicine.
Following his 1980s tenure as Health Commissioner of New York City, he was criticized by Larry Kramer, a prominent AIDS and LGBT activist, for largely ignoring the city's developing AIDS epidemic.