Twenty-five million people died of the Spanish flu, but few recall the details of the pandemic today. With the advent of avian flu come new fears and new preparedness efforts, but how much concern is too much-or not enough? Are we prepared and are our resources sufficient? Or conversely, is this pandemic talk another in a long line of media and politician hyped pseudo catastrophes devised to seduce our loyalty and obedience? What can be learned from 1918 in a world where another global disease hangs so ominously over our heads?
photo credit: Viera Levitt
Dr. Kirsty Duncan is a medical geographer, a Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto, and author of Hunting The 1918 Flu: One Scientist’s Search For A Killer Virus. She served on the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with Al Gore, and as a member of the Advisory Board for Pandemic Flu for the University of Toronto, has helped prepare organizations throughout Canada and the US.
Dr. David Gifford was appointed Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health in 2005. In addition he serves as a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University. He has performed significant work related to disease management, to expanding access to immunization, and to other techniques related to the prevention of diseases.
Jay Critchley is an artist and activist. He has taught at the Museum School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and has had residencies at Harvard University, AS220 in Providence, RI, and Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center in New York City. In addition to visual works he has written and directed two movies, directs an underground theater, and runs the annual Provincetown Harbor Swim for Life.
Dr. Leonard A. Mermel is the Medical Director for the Department of Epidemiology and Infection Control at Rhode Island Hospital and a Professor of Medicine at Brown University. In 2005 he served as President of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. His research focuses on the prevention of hospital-acquired infections and included in his extensive bibliography are two US guidelines dealing with intravascular catheter-related infections.
American Experience: Influenza 1918
This relevant documentary was aired on RIPBS as part of Action Speaks programming during the Fall 2006 recording season.