Montgomery, AL (WSFA) -- Former State Health Officer Dr. Ira Lee Myers dies. Dr. Myers served as Alabama's state health officer from 1963 until his retirement in April 1986. At the time of his retirement he was the longest-serving health officer in the nation.
During his era in public health, countless advances were made in the treatment of disease and he initiated the mass Salk polio vaccine program as a part of his early work. He was instrumental in the initiation of a narcotics enforcement program, newborn screening, computerization, and support of a laboratory system. During his tenure there were declines in infant and maternal mortality, and facility expansions through the Hill-Burton Act.
State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson said, "Dr. Myers was a giant in public health. Many of the programs begun by Dr. Myers remain essential today."
Dr. Myers was highly involved as a Baptist layman and was a deacon, trustee and Sunday School teacher at Dalraida Baptist Church. Dr. Myers endowed the Martha and Dorothy Myers Fund for Faculty Development at Judson College in memory of his wife, Dorothy, and his daughter, Dr. Martha Myers, Baptist missionary who was martyred in late 2002 in Yemen.