Board Members Thoughts On Epidemics

“The current swine flu epidemic reminded me of previous epidemics and how women in history had contributed to the science and medicinal knowledge of epidemics. I remembered a movie, “Sister Kenny,” about her treatments of people with polio and also I knew about Clara Maass who volunteered to be injected with yellow fever. Having survived a mild case of yellow fever, she volunteered a second time and died from that. One result was the banning of using humans in such experimentation. In 1976 Clara Maass was the subject of a United States postage stamp.

More current Professor Kathy Rowlen, University of Colorado, led the Flu Chip development plan to make genetic sequences, which determined the genetic make-up of types and subtypes of flu viruses in about 11 hours. Prior to the development of the Flu Chip, methods for characterizing flu subtypes infecting patients took about four days. The 2005 article I read said it would help world health officials combat coming epidemics and pandemics. I believe plans were for the Flu Chip to be distributed free to researchers and the CDC.”

Judith Kaplan,
NWHM Board Member

“Medical emergencies have been very important to women’s progress. Many of today’s hospitals began when women saw the good sense of getting contagious people out of the home — where they were the ones expected to nurse the sick. And I’ve been noticing for a while that a disproportionate of health news seems to come from women. I think we are more willing to think creatively and less rigid about past assumptions — and because male physicians want the lucrative business of actual practice, women are the ones who get hired by the research labs.”

Doris Weatherford,
NWHM Historical Advisor

3 Responses to “Board Members Thoughts On Epidemics”

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