History Department
History Department

Historian David Oshinsky to join Bill Gates for conversation on polio eradication

Thu, January 27, 2011
Historian David Oshinsky to join Bill Gates for conversation on polio eradication
Prof. David M. Oshinsky

The panel discussion will be on Monday, Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m. CST and will coincide with the release of Gates' third annual letter, which will highlight his personal commitment to the global eradication of polio.

Oshinsky won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in history for his book, Polio: An American Story, which chronicles the disease’s impact on American life and the efforts by scientists and doctors to create a successful vaccine. He holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History and is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin.
Each year, Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. chairman and philanthropist, releases a letter in which he writes about his work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and shares what the foundation is learning along with its partners and grantees. To mark this year's letter, the foundation has organized a conversation about the extraordinary progress in the fight to eradicate polio and the enormous lifesaving potential of vaccines. Polio has been reduced by 99 percent and scientists are on the cusp of eradicating only the second disease in history, presenting a powerful case for the value of vaccines.

“Bill and Melinda Gates have dedicated themselves to help protect the world's children from deadly diseases. Vaccination, of course, is one of the most successful ways to achieve this goal,” says Oshinsky. “I'm thrilled to be a small part of the Gates initiative, which will focus on the global eradication of polio.”

The discussion will take place in New York City and will be moderated by ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer. In addition to Gates and Oshinsky, other panelists include Helen Rees, chair of the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, and Dr. Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

“Bill Gates was impressed by the story behind my book, which showed how the generous voluntary spirit of the American people defeated this devastating paralytic disease and how, in the process, the campaign against polio revolutionized both philanthropy and medical research,” says Oshinsky. “Bill and Melinda Gates believe, as I do, that these lessons can be applied to the global eradication effort, and that polio will be wiped from the face of the Earth.”

Where to watch live stream: www.gatesfoundation.org
Monday, Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m. CST


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