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Events  > 50th Polio Vaccine Anniversary
Important Leaders & Contacts
in Polio Immunization

Important leaders in polio immunization:
Other resources (history of polio):

Important leaders in polio immunization

March of Dimes

Jennifer L. Howse, Ph.D.
President of the March of Dimes. Since 1990, Dr. Howse has led the March of Dimes, the organization that supported Dr. Jonas Salk's development of the polio vaccine that bears his name, as well as the Sabin (oral) vaccine. Dr. Howse has served as an advisor to the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the HHS Secretary’s National Commission on Infant Mortality.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Ms. Roosevelt is the granddaughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who founded the March of Dimes in 1938 to fight polio. She is Director of Community and Education Relations at Boeing World Headquarters in Chicago. She serves as National Chair of the Salk Vaccine 50th Anniversary and is a member and Secretary of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees.

Anita Perry
First Lady of Texas. Mrs. Perry is a long-time volunteer for the March of Dimes and serves as March of Dimes National Chair for Childhood Immunization.

Contact for those listed above at the March of Dimes is: Michele Kling, Senior Health & Science Press Officer, 914-997-4613,

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Steve Cochi
Dr. Cochi has worked at CDC in the field of immunization for more that 21 years. From 1993-2003, he led CDC’s global immunization activities, directing a $150 million annual program with 90 CDC staff to provide technical and programmatic support. Global immunization activities in this period included oversight of key partnerships in the global polio eradication initiative.

Contact for Dr. Cochi is: Curtis Allen, Health Communications Specialist, 404-639-8487,

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Rotary International

Mr. William T. Sergeant
He has chaired Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee since 1994.

Contact for Mr. Sergeant is: Carol Pandak; Manager, Division of PolioPlus; 847-866-3304;
Vivian Fiore, Senior Media Relations Specialist, PolioPlus, 847-866-3234,

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Salk Institute

Rich Murphy, President and CEO

Can speak to the overall mission of the Institute, its history and its legacy.

Salk faculty members
Several members have expertise in virology and infectious diseases, and they could be used as scientific consultants.

Contact for those listed above at the Salk Institute is: Cathy Yarbrough, Vice President, Communications, 858-453-4100 x1290

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University of Michigan

Media contact is: Colleen Newvine, University of Michigan News Service, 734-647-4411 direct, 734-764-7260 main, 734-764-7084 fax,

Contact for general information is: Terri Weinstein Mellow, Director of Communications, School of Public Health, 734-764-8094 direct, 734-763-5455 fax,

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University of Pittsburgh

Julius S. Youngner, Sc.D.

Dr. Youngner is the only survivor of Salk’s core scientific team. As senior scientist, he was responsible for significant discoveries that helped move the vaccine research forward. In particular, he established techniques for trypsinization, which allowed the production of poliovirus on a large scale, and he developed a process to inactivate the virus’ capability to cause infection without destroying its effectiveness as a vaccine. He also devised a methodology for safety testing of vaccine batches, including those used in the first field trial, and designed a simple color test to measure antibodies against polio that was used to determine the efficacy of immunization in human subjects. Dr. Youngner currently is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Charles R. Rinaldo, Ph.D.
Dr. Rinaldo is professor and chairman, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. He is an authority on the gamma globulin field trials of 1951 – 1953 that were spearheaded by William Hammon, M.D., Dr. P.H., the University of Pittsburgh’s inaugural chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Microbiology at the School of Public Health.

Contact for Dr. Youngner and Dr. Rinaldo is: Lisa Rossi, Associate Director, News Bureau, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, 412-647-3555,

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Other Resources (History of Polio)
Smithsonian National Museum of American History  

Whatever Happened to Polio?
OPENS: April 12, 2005
CLOSES: April 2006

Remember polio, the debilitating, paralyzing illness that could strike at any moment? To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the announcement of an effective polio vaccine, the museum will open "Whatever Happened to Polio." This multi-media exhibition will present the story of polio, primarily from the perspective of the patient; the vaccine development that ended polio in the U.S.; and the story of survivors and the changes they have made in American society.

Katherine Ott, Ph.D., Curator
Has expertise in the history of medicine, polio, disability and related topics.

Contact for Dr. Ott is: Valeska Hilbig, Deputy Director, Office of Public Affairs (202) 633-3129,

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This page last modified on March 1, 2005


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