University of Minnesota

William McFate Smith, MD

1926 — 2011

“Mack” Smith was a leader in the epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases, with a special lifetime interest in hypertension. He was a westerner, born in Idaho, educated at SMU and received his MD from the University of Chicago in 1951, an MPH from Berkeley in 1968. He promptly joined the hospital corps of the US Public Health Service in 1951 and after specializing in internal medicine served as chief of medicine at the San Francisco PHS hospital, then as regional health director and as Assistant Surgeon General.

On retiring from the service in 1973, he became assistant dean in the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, from which he directed training and led units of the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (as its vice-chair) and the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Project of NIH, and co-chaired the National Heart Attack Prevention Program.

Mack Smith has had other major influences on CVD epidemiology, particularly in his role on the Public Health Service Hospital Trial on Mild Hypertension and the Coronary Drug Project, as well as on the pioneer faculty of the NIH-AHA Tahoe 10-day Seminar in CVD Epidemiology. He has been at the center of U.S. research, policy, and program on control and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. After a period as research director of Merck, Sharp, and Dohme, he retired in Sonoma, California, to serve on local hospital boards. (HB)


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