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How History Informs Public Health: Lessons from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Posted in: College News and Events

The Department of Public Health sponsored “How History Informs Public Health: Lessons from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic” virtually on October 7, 2020. Dr. Alex Navarro and Dr. Stephanie Silvera were featured speakers.

Dr.  Navarro is a diplomatic, political, and intellectual historian who has taught and conducted research on a wide range of topics including US/Latin American history and US-Southeast Asian relations, Western Labor History, 20th Century Urban History, race, racism, and issues of national identity. Since joining the Center for the History of Medicine, Dr. Navarro’s research has centered on the 1918 and 2009 influenza pandemics. He is also the Co-Editor in Chief of the American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia, which details the experiences of 50 American cities.

Dr. Silvera is Professor of Public Health at Montclair State University and an epidemiologist who has been interviewed widely in New Jersey media regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting back in 2005, the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan embarked on a landmark series of federally-sponsored research projects examining public health measures used during the deadly fall wave of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Dr. Alex Navarro, who was the lead historian on the research team, addressed the following questions about what the researchers learned:

  • Which 1918 interventions were associated with better outcomes and how should that inform what we do during the fall and winter of 2020-21?
  • What did the researchers learn about cooperation and resistance to public health measures and how it affected the spread of the disease?
  • What lessons can we learn from historical accounts of the political struggles over response to the influenza pandemic?

Missed this event? Dr. Navarro will give a presentation during the University’s virtual Homecoming celebration on Saturday, October 24, 2020, from 3:00-3:30 pm.

Register Now!