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Hopkins Mourns the Passing of R. Bradley Sack

We are writing to share the sad news that R. Bradley Sack, MD, ScD ‘ 68, a pioneering epidemiologist and world leader in combatting infectious disease who had been on the Johns Hopkins University faculty for nearly 50 years, passed away on April 24, 2017, at age 81. His work helped avert millions of deaths around the world, particularly among infants and young children. Brad held joint appointments since 1985 at the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of International Health and at the School of Medicine, in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

In the 1960s, while based in Calcutta, Brad and colleagues developed successful treatment for cholera using intravenous solutions. This led to the discovery and refinement of oral rehydration solution (ORS), a treatment adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO). ORS has contributed to saving the lives of as many as 50 million children over the last few decades. Also while in Calcutta, Brad and his colleagues discovered a bacterium called enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), a pathogen that has turned out to be a major cause of severe diarrhea in poor countries as well as in travelers. Scientists are now attempting to develop a vaccine for this pathogen, which could save many more lives. 

Brad was a mentor to many students and junior faculty including his brother David, now also a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health.  From 1977-1985, he served as Chief of the Division of Geographic Medicine in the School of Medicine.  He was instrumental in the founding of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, and in 1986, he founded and directed the International Travel Medicine Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital until 2011. As a consultant at WHO, Brad advised governments and health programs in Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Turkey, North Yemen, Nigeria, Brazil, Trinidad, Togo and China.

In addition to being a first-rate investigator and public health professional, Brad was also kind, gentle and, as many who knew him knew firsthand, compassionate. His passing is a loss for everyone who cares about public health.

Please join us in extending our deepest sympathies to his many colleagues, friends and family, especially his wife, Jo, their four children and their spouses, his six grandchildren and his brother David, also a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health.

Donations can be made to the Child Health Foundation, 110 E. Ridgely Road, Timonium, MD 21093.

With great sadness,

Michael J. Klag, dean, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Paul B. Rothman, dean of the Medical Faculty, and CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine


Kelsey Bennett