Photo Peter Emanuel, Ph.D., presents Contagion: Fact and Fear during a recent Science Café.
Emanuel described how science and policy shaped the nation’s response to the global flu pandemic of 2009 – 2010. The H1N1 flu pandemic was used as an example of how science and policy are intertwined, and how complexities were created by budgets and international policy.
As the former assistant director for chemical and biological countermeasures, Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the White House, Emanuel shared stories of his tenure at the White House helping form U.S. policies and decisions about the flu and flu vaccine dissemination.
The Science Café events are hosted by the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council and are a way for the general public to hear scientists talk about their work in a relaxed, fun and informative setting. The events are free and offered monthly from September through June at public venues in Harford and Cecil counties.
“The NMTC Science Café seeks to have our community learn about science and its influence on our everyday life,” said John Casner, NMTC executive director. “We are fortunate to have such an articulate, engaging expert as Dr. Emanuel to help us do that. His evening's topic, Contagion: Fact and Fear, is of great concern as the flu season comes 'knocking' and was reassuringly explained. We were all highly entertained as he punctuated his talk with his interesting experiences working in the glow of the White House. The audience, captivated for the entire hour as time flew by, included Dr. Emanuel's former mentor, also from ECBC, Dr. Harry Salem. The informal conversation afterwards saw both Dr. Emanuel and Dr. Salem staying to answer the many good questions that evening's discussion encouraged.”
“Hearing first-hand how scientists, analysts and policy leaders reached the decisions they did regarding developing a separate H1N1 vaccine during the 2009-2010 global flu epidemic was eye-opening and, in spite of all the uncertainties inherent in such an event, reassuring,” said Nina Lamba, Ph.D., president and chief scientist of CCL Biomedical, Inc., and chair of the NMTC’s Science Café committee.
NMTC is Maryland’s fast growing technology association with over 140 members and supporters providing member access to technology, industry, academic and government leaders in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Northeastern Maryland, the Greater Baltimore area and beyond.