News Release: Research, University News

Oct. 27,  2009

Global Health Chronicles Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Smallpox Eradication

Online Archives at Emory Preserves Records of Historic Victory Over Global Disease

News Article ImageU.S. health workers checking vaccination site in Northern Nigeria in 1968.

Historic video and audio interviews, photos, presentations and government papers that document the intense battle to eradicate smallpox are now available online to researchers and the public alike.

The Global Health Chronicles (www.globalhealthchronicles.org), an online archive hosted by Emory University Libraries, publicly launched on Oct. 26, the 30th anniversary of worldwide smallpox eradication. Emory President James Wagner attended the launch event at the university's Robert W. Woodruff Library, along with three former CDC directors and many retired CDC employees featured in the archives. The disease experts present at the event led the fight against smallpox in the 1960s, says former CDC director David Sencer.

"Eradicating a disease is the ultimate in disease prevention; as smallpox is the one human infectious disease that has been completely eradicated there's much to celebrate here," Sencer says. "The Global Health Chronicles site features oral histories of individuals who played a crucial role in that accomplishment. Today's health professionals and students can hear and read of the passion these women and men brought to their work. This site also will be a valuable source of previously unknown material for historians."

Institutions participating in the massive effort to collect and preserve the data in the Global Health Chronicles archive include not only Emory Libraries staff, but also Emory's Global Health Institute and its Rollins School of Public Health, as well as colleagues at the CDC, says Rick Luce, vice provost and director of Emory Libraries.

Global Health Chronicles - Smallpox

Smallpox Health Chronicles
is online at
www.globalhealthchronicles.org/
smallpox
.

"The Global Health Chronicles project is another important facet of Emory's continuing mission to create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity," Luce says. "It's also a great example of Emory collaboration across the campus and with partner institutions."

Materials collected in the Global Health Chronicles archive include:

  • Oral histories of epidemiologists, operations officers, their spouses and children who worked in 22 countries in Africa as well as in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, to stop the spread of smallpox.
  • Previously unpublished field reports and pictures.
  • Digitized books on the history of smallpox eradication.
  • Seminars by the leaders of the global program to eradicate smallpox.

Creation of the Global Health Chronicles was funded with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Google.org Fund of Tides Foundation and Emory's Global Health Institute, with in-kind support from the CDC, Rollins School of Public Health and the Emory Libraries.

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