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Former U.S. surgeon general, fluoridation advocate, dies

Brookline, Mass.—Julius B. Richmond, M.D., U.S. surgeon general from 1977-1981, the first director of Head Start and a champion for community water fluoridation, died July 27. He was 91.

Dr. Richmond was a guest speaker at the National Fluoridation Symposium sponsored by the ADA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups in July 2005. "Fluoridation came out of science just as well-substantiated as the link between smoking and health," he told those attending the 60th anniversary celebration in Chicago.

"The health community has suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Julius B. Richmond," said Rear Adm. Steven K. Galson, acting surgeon general, in a statement. "As surgeon general, Dr. Richmond provided extraordinary leadership in advancing the field of health promotion and disease prevention through the release of the first surgeon general's report urging the nation to reduce alcohol, salt, sugar and fats in their diet, get moderate exercise, obey speeding laws and use seat belts.

Dr. Richmond also issued a 1979 landmark report on the health risks of smoking that presented undisputed scientific evidence on the harmful effects of smoking.

"Other notable accomplishments," added Rear Adm. Galson, "include Dr. Richmond's development and implementation of measurable goals for public health, first published in 1979 as Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. As a recognized giant in the field of public health, Dr. Richmond was a life-long advocate for the health of the American public and more specifically, protecting the health of the nation's children. Dr. Richmond was an outstanding leader and a great American."