After a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer, Dr. Ronald M. Davis passed away November 6 at his home in East Lansing, MI.
Dr. Davis served as the 162nd president of the American Medical Association from June 2007 to June 2008. As the first preventive medicine specialist ever elected to that position, he focused on improving access to health care and the importance of prevention and sound public policy. He also helped lead the AMA's efforts to analyze its past history of racial inequality, which culminated in the organization's formal apology towards African American physicians in July 2008.
Dr. Davis' career as a public health official began as director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, where he oversaw the publication of three landmark Surgeon General's reports on the health consequences of smoking and the health benefits of smoking cessation. He later served as medical director for the Michigan Department of Public Health and was most recently the director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.
From 1992-1998, Dr. Davis served as the founding editor of Tobacco Control, the first journal dedicated to tobacco control research, and later served as the North American editor of the British Medical Journal.
Dr. Davis was a key expert witness in many trials against the tobacco industry, and he testified before Congress and other legislative bodies on numerous occasions. His NCI grant, titled "Analysis of Tobacco Depositions and Trial Testimony," analyzed the sworn testimony of tobacco industry executives, researchers, and consultants.
He received many awards and honors, including the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal and the Surgeon General's Medallion.
"He will be remembered by his colleagues and friends around the world for his seminal contributions to tobacco control and public health, as well as his kindness, integrity, and dedication to helping others," said Dr. Michele Bloch of NCI's Tobacco Control Research Branch.