J. Donald Millar, physician, died at 81

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John Donald Millar, born on February 27, 1934 and died August 30, 2015 from kidney failure.

He was a physician and public health administrator who rose to prominence as the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health from 1981 through 1993.

A retired assistant surgeon general of the United States Public Health Service, Dr. Millar (pronounced mil-LAHR) was long associated with what is now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He was the first director of its global smallpox eradication program, a position he held from 1966 to 1970.

Dr. Millar was later a director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The last case of smallpox in the United States occurred in 1949, but when Dr. Millar assumed his post, the disease remained an urgent international health concern: From 1880 to 1980, it killed a half-billion people worldwide.

The C.D.C. (known in the late 1960s as the National Communicable Disease Center) began its overseas eradication campaign in West and Central Africa.

From the center’s offices in Atlanta, Dr. Millar oversaw the training, deployment and support of dozens of health workers in some 20 countries there.

Many, like Sierra Leone, Guinea, Niger and Togo, then had some of the highest rates of smallpox in the world.

Dr. Millar died on August 30, 2015 from kidney failure at age 81.

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