By Dan Reed
Organized by our Faculty Fellows, we recently hosted the first in a series of "Ideas and Intersections” dinners. Each is designed to bring together scholars, researchers, artists, and thought leaders for an evening of discourse and discovery on important topics that lie at the interstices of our disciplines. The first of these, titled Epidemics: Countering (and Encountering) Exposure, explored the historical, cultural, technical, scientific and biomedical ideas surrounding the spread and tracking of disease and our evolving societal responses. (The next dinner will consider Privacy in the Digital Age, a topic near and dear to my own heart.)
The evening began with a thoughtful and illuminating set of research vignettes from our faculty, spanning historical lessons on culture, power and disease; communication and influence; and how technology is reshaping our tracking of disease. This was followed by a fascinating and lively discussion on the cultural, biomedical and scientific milieu of epidemics, spanning recent responses to the Ebola virus outbreak and declining childhood vaccination rates. After the formal program ended, clusters of faculty continued the discussion over dessert.
We are not only a fount of new knowledge, we eagerly share that knowledge, and we are active and engaged participants in addressing societal issues. That is why we matter, now more than ever–to this region, to our state and our country, and to the world at large.
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to register for one of the free sessions, as seats are filling up fast.