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Great Moments in Medical History – This Week on Sound Medicine

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Before launching into stories for the new year, this week Sound Medicine will revisit some of the most interesting stories heard on the show on the topic of medical history.

Mark Pendergrast is the author of Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service. Speaking with Sound Medicine’s Dr. David Crabb, Pendergrast reveals the surprising affect the EIS has had on world health since the group’s inception in the 1950’s.

It is unusual for a disease to be eradicated, but it has happened. D.A. Henderson, M.D., will explain how he led the World Health Organization’s efforts to wipe out smallpox. Dr. Henderson’s book is Smallpox — the Death of a Disease. He is professor of medicine and public health at the University of Pittsburgh and Distinguished Scholar at the Center for Biosecurity in Baltimore.

Dr. William Stewart Halsted was a pioneering surgeon who came of age right after the Civil War. He’s the subject of a recent book, Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted by Gerald Imber, M.D. Dr. Imber will tell Sound Medicine’s Dr. Kathy Miller about Halsted’s advances in the practice of surgery— despite his troubled personal life. Dr. Imber, a plastic surgeon, teaches at Weill-Cornell Medical College.

A recent book about 19th century social novelist Upton Sinclair reveals the writer’s interest in health care reform. Indiana University historian Ruth Clifford Engs will discuss Sinclair’s ideas for reform with Sound Medicine‘s Steve Bogdewic, Ph.D. Dr. Eng’s book, Unseen Upton Sinclair, was pubished in 2009.

In the 1960’s, the CIA was involved in secret research with electroshock therapy, ostensibly as a way to protect American soldiers from brainwashing. It was called the MKULTRA project. As a young medical student, Indiana University’s Steven Jay, M.D., had a front row seat to the fallout from MKULTRA. In a chat with Sound Medicine’s resident bioethicist, Eric Meslin, Ph.D., Dr. Jay will recall the incident and its implications for the fields of psychiatry, medical ethics and Cold War politics.

For more information on this show or archived editions, check the Sound Medicine website.

Sound Medicine is an award-winning radio program co-produced by the Indiana University School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio (90.1FM). Sound Medicine is underwritten by Clarian Health, IU Medical Group and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Reports on Primary Health Care topics are sponsored by Wishard Health Services.

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