After graduating from Cornell Medical School in 1937 and completion of an internship, Bud worked in various settings fighting such disparate communicable diseases as smallpox, cholera, and AIDS. From 1970 to 1995, Bud was the editor of six editions of Control of Communicable Diseases in Man (CCDM), his “little handbook” that has been published by the American Public Health Association since 1915. He was most proud of the pirated editions of the book that found their way back to him – written in Chinese or Arabic; they showed him that the world valued his contribution and desperately needed the information he worked so diligently to provide.
In 1982, Dr. Benenson joined the faculty of the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health as Head, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, a position he held until 1992, at which time he became Professor Emeritus and maintained a full schedule, including advising students with their theses. He also played a critical role in establishing the Public Health doctoral program with concentration in Epidemiology, offered jointly by San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Benenson received many awards in his lifetime, including the Legion of Merit; the Meritorious Civilian Award; the John Snow Award and the Award for Excellence, both from the American Public Health Association; and the K.F. Meyer Gold-Headed Cane Award from the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society. Bud was pleased with the awards he received; they validated his hard work and allowed his friends and family to share his honors.
He was the author or co-author of over 140 scholarly papers in the fields of preventive medicine, epidemiology, and communicable diseases. His early work focused on the diarrheal diseases and smallpox, while his later research dealt more with AIDS.
Four children and seven grandchildren, and a new great-grandchild survive Bud and his wife, Regina van Aalten Benenson: twins Mike and Tom, James, and Sonia, and their children.
The first Benenson lecture was delivered in 2007 in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the SDSU GSPH. The second and subsequent lectures will be connected to the San Diego Epi Exchange. The Benenson Distinguished Lecture series highlights those areas most important to Bud – preventive medicine, military medicine, and “shoe-leather” epidemiology.