Leader of Public Health School Group Is Murdered

August 15, 2016

Harrison Spencer (right), president of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, was murdered last week, and authorities have charged Peter Michael Spencer, his son, with stabbing him to death, The Washington Post reported. Legal papers quoted the son as telling the police, “I just stabbed to death my father …. I heard voices that I should kill him and I killed him.”

Prior to leading the association, Spencer had been dean of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

A tribute to Spencer by the association he led detailed an extensive career of working all over the world to promote public health.

“In recent years, Dr. Spencer was frequently called upon to speak to students, both prospective students in public health and those already active in the field he came to love and champion,” the tribute says. “A reserved man, he dug deep into the many lessons he learned traveling the globe and through his professional and personal experiences, to prepare remarks that could inspire the next generation of public health professionals. He often spoke about the enormous potential of individuals working purposefully, through barriers and across cultures, for the health of the public and the value of each and every person’s potential to make a difference.”

The tribute then included a quote from one of Spencer's recent speeches and said that it “rings true to all of us who knew Dr. Spencer and who wake up every day excited to continue our work to improve the public’s health: ‘Public health is filled with heroes, both well-known and unknown. They are visible on the national or international stage or they work quietly in communities with families and individuals. When they do their job, they often become invisible.’”

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