Rutland Professor Andrew Wood’s Fall 2021 HST 4853 Seminar on Global Public Health set an ambitious agenda. Meeting twice a week online, Wood and his students took a close look at the international history of several key public health crises beginning with the 1854 cholera outbreak in London and then continuing with tuberculosis, the Spanish Flu, polio, AIDS, SARS and COVID-19. The seminar also included a critical examination of the history of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
In order to successfully engage such a vast and complex history, students were encouraged to strategically read, discuss and write about the required seven books by utilizing an analytical framework which sought to identify illness, describe treatment and assess past outcomes for each course sub-topic. After successfully collaborating to lead class discussion and write a series of short papers over the course of the semester, students then developed their own final research project on a comparative medical history topic of their choosing.
In reflecting on the fall seminar experience, Wood was quick to point out that “this particular group of students did the scholarly work typically assigned to an advance graduate course at a leading university.” He added, “I learned a lot and am pleased and so proud of all of them.”