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03-31-2006

US Public Health Service Historian Will Speak On Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919

As the Great War was coming to a close in the late summer of 1918, an even bigger threat to the world - an influenza Pandemic with unprecedented virulence - was spreading across the globe. In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth a fifth of the world's population became infected. Most deadly for people ages 20 to 40, the pandemic ultimately killed an estimated 675,000 Americans - ten times as many as in the war. Worldwide, between 20 and 100 million people succumbed to the deadly virus.

Alexandra M. Lord, Acting Historian for the US Public Health Service, will explore this pandemic in a lecture titled The Bodies Piled Up Something Fierce: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 - 1919 and its lessons for Today. The lecture will be delivered Thursday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Petersen Board Room (room 330) of Clarkson's Bertrand H. Snell Hall.

Lord received a BA degree from Vassar College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisonsin-Madison. She has held the J. Elliot Royer Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the History of Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. She was on the faculty of Montana State University, Bozeman and then the State University of New York, New Paltz. Lord's research interests include the history of sex education and sexually transmitted diseases, medical perceptions of puberty and the history of women's health. Currently, she is researching the Public Health Service's attempts to fight venereal disease through the use of sex education during the 1920s.

Lord has given papers and published work on topics ranging from medical understanding of puberty to the history of the caesarian section and twentieth-century attempts to control sexually transmitted diseases. Her most recent article deals with the Public Health Service's attempt to teach young girls about sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases during the early 1920s (Naturally Clean and Wholesome: Women, Sex Education and the United States Public Health Service, 1918-1928) published in the journal, Social History of Medicine, December, 2004).

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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