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The John K. Lattimer Lecture: Putting Asthma on the Map: Weather, Pollen, Pollution and the Geography of Risk

Date: December 12, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM - 7:30PM

Lecture: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.; Light refreshments from 5:30 p.m.


Carla C. Keirns, MD, PhD

Sponsored by: NYAM Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health

Location: The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029

Manipulation of the patient's environment has been central to prevention and treatment for asthma since antiquity. In the past two centuries, physicians and patients have sought to move from testimonials and complaints to quantitative measures of risk. In the 1890s, physicians in "climatic" medical practices sought to use measurements of humidity, sunlight and rainfall to predict places and seasons that would be safe for asthmatics. In the same period, indoor and outdoor risks such as pollen and dust began to mark regions and spaces as risky or dangerous, and led to efforts to escape attacks through travel or fortify the home environment against the patient's triggers. Recent efforts to predict or create safe places have turned again to the outdoors, both through national regulation of air pollution (politically fraught from the beginning) and the efforts of minority communities and their academic and activist partners to document the disproportionate environmental risks faced by their members.

About the Speaker(s)

Carla C. Keirns, MD, PhD, is on the faculty and clinical staff at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, where she serves as a core faculty member in the Center for Medical Humanities. Dr. Keirns's scholarship combines methods from medicine, ethics, sociology, history, and health services research to explore the impact of illness on individuals, their families, communities, and society both in the present and across lifetimes and generations. She is the author of Measured Breath: A Short History of Asthma, which the Johns Hopkins University Press is publishing in 2013.


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