Washington, D.C., Feb. 25, 2013
— “With heavy hearts, we pay tribute to our friend and colleague, C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD, who passed away today. He was 96.
“When you look back at the last 75 years, it’s impossible to bring up our nation’s greatest heroes and not mention the contributions of Dr. Koop. He had three careers. First, he was a trailblazer who led the effort to found the specialty of pediatric surgery; he then completed his amazing tenure as our 13th surgeon general; and finally, in his post-surgeon general years, he served as a mentor to the nation and a voice of reason on the importance of population health.
“He was a vigorous advocate who used his position as the nation’s “Top Doc” to inform us all about a range of health threats, from HIV/AIDS to tobacco. His efforts were masterful and effective. He awoke a sleeping nation to the risks of HIV/ AIDS and prodded policymakers, including a president, to take action on leading public health concerns.
“We have made significant progress in HIV/AIDS research and prevention, thanks in large part to Dr. Koop’s advocacy efforts. With “Understanding AIDS,” a letter he sent to every American household, Dr. Koop made AIDS prevention a top priority and sparked groundbreaking advances in science, medicine and healthy behavior.
“Dr. Koop’s call for a smoke-free society nearly 30 years ago led to continuous declines in tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. During his seven years in office, the percentage of smokers dropped from 34 percent to 26 percent of the nation’s population. In 1988, APHA presented him with the Award of Excellence for “exceptionally meritorious contribution to the improvement of health of the people.” The health and well-being of millions of people around the world are his legacy.
“APHA extends its deepest condolences to Dr. Koop’s wife and family, and celebrates the life of a true national hero.”
For more about APHA, visit www.apha.org.