Origin Story

From: CDC Image Library

From: CDC Image Library

This first post marks the launch of The Bifurcated Needle, a new blog featuring views and insights from the diverse group of professionals at the UPMC Center for Health Security. For those of you who know the Center well, you already can guess that the bifurcated needle title is a reference and homage to our Center’s founder, Dr. DA Henderson. After all, the bifurcated needle is truly an old friend of his.

Invented 50 years ago by Dr. Benjamin Rubin, the bifurcated needle proved to be, as DA wrote in his book, “the ultimate vaccination solution” during the smallpox eradication program over which he presided. Outperforming high-tech jet vaccine injectors, this simple but elegant device helped remove one of mankind’s scourges from the planet—the first ever eradication of an infectious disease.

As with its namesake, the blog will aspire to offer simple, effective, and sometimes unexpected solutions to difficult health security challenges. Since solutions can be almost as elusive as successful eradication campaigns, we invite readers to be part of the conversation as we and our colleagues offer personal views and commentary.