John Sever, a champion of polio eradication, dies

John Sever, an infectious disease specialist and champion of Rotary’s polio eradication program, died on 25 April. He was 92.

A Rotary member since 1964, the Chicago, Illinois-born Sever worked for almost three decades as chief of the Infectious Diseases Branch at the National Institutes of Health. Later he served as a professor of pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He published over 600 scientific papers in these fields.

On Sever’s recommendation in 1979, Rotary would embark on its decades-long effort to eradicate polio globally, expanding what began as a vaccination campaign in the Philippines. Because of his expertise and advocacy, Sever served on the International PolioPlus Committee (IPPC) from its inception in 1994 and was a member and vice chair. His tireless efforts were instrumental in driving the global campaign to eradicate polio.

Read more on the Rotary website.


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