THURSDAY LUNCHEON SPEAKER - Elena Conis, Polio in America
Polio was one of the most frightening epidemic diseases of the mid-twentieth century U.S., causing terrifying epidemics at a time when other infectious diseases were on the wane. This talk will trace the history of polio in America from the early epidemics of the twentieth century through the disease’s effective disappearance from the country by the end of that century. It will focus on the high-profile search for effective vaccines against the disease, and will highlight some of the vaccines’ unique challenges and triumphs in the first several decades of their use.
Elena Conis is a professor in the Graduate School of Journalism and the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also directs the joint graduate program in Journalism and Public Health. A former journalist, award-winning columnist, and historian, she studies how culture, values, politics, and media have shaped modern American medicine, and public health. Her book Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization received the 2015 Arthur J. Viseltear Award from the American Public Health Association.