December 7, 2016

Count Me In! Click Here to Register

VDC Book Club Selection:
"Adventures of a Female Medical Detective: In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDS"


Mary Guinan, MD, PhD

Professor Emerita
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Clubhouse Location:
Room 110, School of Medicine Building
6:00pm — wine, cheese, networking
6:30pm — meeting convenes
7:45pm — Book signing, casual buffet dinner, and more networking

Dear Vacciners,
Americans are a nomadic people.

Not consistently nomadic mind you but next week approximately 49 million of us will hit the road at the roughly the same moment and travel at least 50 miles to somewhere or another that promises the chance to wage anew the annual cranberry sauce war (which side do YOU fight for BTW? Whole berry compote or the traditional jiggling tower of cranberry puree straight from the can?) and is sure to be teeming with people making (or who should be making) quietly desperate resolutions not to engage in politicized chit chat with anyone who happens to be holding a carving knife*.

So because of all the to-ing and fro-ing that is getting ready to happen next week we are opening registration for the December VDC meeting THIS week so that you can get that totally crucial registration task out of the way before you need to start focusing on your travel/escape plans. Register Now.

For Those of You Interested in HIV: Because the December meeting always coincides with World AIDS Day Week we look for a speaker who can talk about some aspect of the pandemic, now in its 35th year. This year we have hit the jackpot. Dr. Mary Guinan was part of the original team of CDC folk who investigated the first cases of what turned out to be AIDS.

For Those of You Interested in a Lot of Other Things Too: Dr. Guinan's career with the CDC did not begin nor end with the AIDS epidemic though. She was involved in a whole lot of interesting work and she has recently pulled a dozen of those stories together into the highly readable book that she will discuss (and sign for you, if you buy a copy after the talk) at this month's meeting of the 'VDC Book Club.'

Here is what says about Adventures of a Female Medical Detective:

"In 1974, a young doctor arrived at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with one goal in mind: to help eradicate smallpox. The only woman physician in her class in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, a two-year epidemiology training program, Mary Guinan soon was selected to join India's Smallpox Eradication Program, which searched out and isolated patients with the disease. By May of 1975, the World Health Organization declared Uttar Pradash smallpox-free.

"During her barrier-crossing career, Dr. Guinan met arms-seeking Afghan insurgents in Pakistan and got caught in the cross fire between religious groups in Lebanon. She treated some of the first AIDS patients and served as an expert witness in defense of a pharmacist who was denied employment for having HIV―leading to a landmark decision that still protects HIV patients from workplace discrimination. Randy Shilts's best-selling book on the epidemic, And the Band Played On, features her AIDS work.

"In Adventures of a Female Medical Detective, Guinan weaves together twelve vivid stories of her life in medicine, describing her individual experiences in controlling outbreaks, researching new diseases, and caring for patients with untreatable infections. She offers readers a feisty, engaging, and uniquely female perspective from a time when very few women worked in the field. Occasionally heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious, Guinan's account of her path breaking career will inspire public health students and future medical detectives―and give all readers insight into that part of the government exclusively devoted to protecting their health."

But wait, there's more! Here are the book's chapter titles:
1. My First Outbreak Investigation
2. Something to Believe In: Operation Smallpox Zero
3. A Gift of an Elephant
4. Dr. Herpes
5. Healthcare Workers and Enemy Information in a War Zone, Pakistan, 1980
6. An AIDS Needlestick in a Rundown Hotel in San Francisco, 1982
7. ACT UP Acts Up at CDC Over the Definition of AIDS for Women
8. The HIV-Infected Preacher's Wife
9. Few Safe Places
10. Expert Witness for John Doe, the Pharmacist, 1991
11. The Milk Industry Challenges CDC over the Source of a Listeriosis Outbreak
12. On Getting AIDS from a Toilet Seat and Other STD Myths and Taboos

Intrigued? Register Now!

Hope to see you for Dinner at the Book Club on December 7th

* Here is a short video (00:03:47) from the good folks at SNL demonstrating an emergency measure you can take if anyone at the table fails to channel their inner Switzerland and makes upsetting comments in your presence on Thanksgiving Day.