University of Minnesota

Henry Blackburn, MD

Born: 1925

Henry Blackburn

Henry Blackburn was educated at the University of Miami and Tulane University School of Medicine, and served residencies at the American Hospital of Paris and the University of Minnesota. He joined the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene in 1956, becoming Project Officer for the Seven Countries Study from 1957 to 1972, when he became Laboratory Director upon Ancel Keys’s retirement.

Two publications initiated his career: “The Electrocardiogram in Population Studies” (The Minnesota Code: Circulation, 1960) and “Cardiovascular Survey Methods” with Geoffrey Rose (WHO, 1968). He developed risk prediction using the resting and exercise electrocardiogram and became involved with design and analysis of trials in physical activity and the Coronary Drug Project, eventually with multicenter trials of the 1970s-80s. He led population strategies of surveillance and preventive interventions in the Minnesota Heart Survey and the Minnesota Heart Health Program, begun in 1978.

Blackburn served on scientific councils of international and U.S. heart foundations, seminars in CVD Epidemiology, steering committees of trials, as WHO consultant, and on the Advisory Council of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He retired as Director of Epidemiology at Minnesota in 1990 and as Mayo Chair in Public Health in 1996 and now pursues the history of research in CVD epidemiology and prevention. (HB)

Please click here for a description of the Minnesota Heart Health Program.

To read Dr. Blackburn’s interview in Epidemiology please click here.