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Media Coverage of SARS Epidemic is Focus of Lecture by Historian

(Posted January 17, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A historian from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who specializes in the history of Chinese medicine, will speak at Juniata College on "Media Blindspots, Conceptural Blindfolds: Chinese Medicine and the SARS Epidemic" at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 20 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center on the Juniata campus.

The lecture, which is part of the Delbert McQuaide Lectureship in history and is sponsored by the history department, is free and open to the public.

Marta Hanson, assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins, will talk about how daily U.S. media coverage of the SARS epidemic of 2003 concentrated on Western medical efforts and ignored how traditional Chinese medicine was used to combat the outbreak. More than half of the SARS patients in mainland China were treated with Chinese herbs in conjunction with Western steroid and antibiotic treatments.

She will detail how media outlets covering the epidemic failed -- largely because Western reporters could not read reports of how Chinese treatment methods were used and because reporters prefer to explain events in Western medical terms -- to tell the full story of the SARS epidemic.

Hanson came to Johns Hopkins from a position as assistant professor of history at the University of California at San Diego, where she worked from 1997 to 2004. Before that, she worked as an instructor in religious studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and as a lecturer at the University of Minnesota.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Chinese studies at Brown University in Providence, R.I. in 1985. She went on to earn a masters degree in 1988 and a doctoral degree in 1997, both degrees in the history and sociology of science were awarded by the University of Pennsylvania.

The Delbert McQuaide Lectureship in History Series was established by Delbert McQuaide, a 1958 Juniata College graduate. He was a senior partner at McQuaide Blasko Law Offices in State College and served as general counsel for Penn State University and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He was president of the Centre County Bar Association, and a member of the Pennsylvania, and American Bar Associations and the National Association of College and University Attorneys. Mr. McQuaide was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1994 and served as chairman from 1996 until his death in 1997.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.