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Department News for 2013


“Professor R. Alta Charo Honored by Institute of Medicine”
October 2013

Charo was presented the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal, awarded to an IOM member from a discipline outside the health and medical sciences. She has been a dedicated contributor to the work of the IOM and the Academies, having served on numerous committees and two boards. For more than a decade, her expertise as an attorney and ethicist in committee deliberations has been invaluable on a series of complex and controversial topics. Her knowledge of federal policy and federal agencies in all their breadth-from law to regulation—and her vigorous engagement in discussions have proved instrumental in questioning assumptions, provoking deeper inquiry and dialogue, and posing crucial questions to further the work of the committees on which she has served. As a subcommittee chair on the Committee on the Assessment of Health Outcomes Related to the Childhood Immunization Schedule, Charo illustrated superb skills in leading difficult discussions on issues of trust, patient autonomy, science literacy, and parental concerns, and in finding avenues for reaching consensus. Additionally, her contributions to The Future of Drug Safety: Promoting and Protecting the Health of the Public were extensive and included sections on the history of drug regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and an assessment of the FDA before and after drug approval. The FDA has acted on a majority of the report's recommendations and, as a result, has profoundly changed its process for handling drug safety issues. She has enriched committee deliberations and reports with her academic scholarship and detailed knowledge of some of the most critical issues in government health and science policy.

Charo is the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law & Bioethics in the School of Law and School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“Wall Street Journal ‘Numbers Guy’ Interviews Rick Keller”
August 2013

Carl Bialik, ‘The Numbers Guy’ columnist for the Wall Street Journal, interviewed Professor Rick Keller as part of his 17 August 2013 blog posting titled “The Challenge of Counting Heat-Wave Deaths.” Click 'here' to read Bialik's blog which offers access to a longer 16 August print article titled “Death Tolls From Summer Heat Waves Are Hazy” (available to WSJ subscribers only).

“AAHM Shryock Medal Honorable Mention for Fama”
May 2013

During the recent American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM) meeting held in Atlanta, GA, third-year graduate student Vicki Fama’s received an Honorable Mention in the Shryock Medal Essay Contest for her essay “Heroes and Villains: Displaying and Viewing Bodies at the United States Army Medical Museum, 1862-1888.” Named for Richard Harrison Shryock (1893-1972), a pioneer among historians interested in the history of medicine, this contest grants an annual award to a graduate student for an outstanding, unpublished essay on any topic in the history of medicine. Bravo Vicki.

“Conference Honoring Ronald L. Numbers”
February 2013

On 15-16 February 2013, over 60 friends and colleagues of Ronald L. Numbers participated in a conference: Science without God: Religion, Naturalism and the Sciences: A Conference to Honour Ronald L. Numbers. Organized by Peter Harrison and Jon Roberts and hosted by Michael Ruse at Florida State University, the conference goal was to test the conventional wisdom about the relationship between science, naturalism, and religion. Seventeen pre-distributed papers ranging from Ancient Natural Philosophy to 19th and 20th century Biology were read with feedback provided by assigned commentators and the audience.

It was a splendid two-day affair that included a fish fry (including unlimited local oysters) on the Saturday at the Ruse's home. A further aim of the gathering is to publish an edited collection of the talks under the guidance of Harrison and Roberts.

Now emeritus Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Numbers has several book projects underway as well as guiding three graduate students in their doctoral studies.

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