The New York Academy of Medicines Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health announces the final lecture in its 2005-2006 series.
The Searching Eyes of Government: Public Health Surveillance in Twentieth-Century America
The Lilianna Sauter Lecture
Amy L. Fairchild, Ph.D.
Ronald Bayer, Ph.D.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
6:00 PM; Reception at 5:30 PM
Public-health surveillance has persistently called into question the appropriate limits of privacy. Although the inherent tension between surveillance and privacy has remained, the nature of the conflict changed dramatically over the course of the twentieth century, reflecting the radical transformation in the conception of privacy.
This lecture by two prominent scholars from Columbia Universitys Mailman School of Public Health traces those changes, from the 1890s through the 1960s, when privacy concerns were embedded in a medical and public-health culture that was both paternalistic and authoritarian, through the 1970s and beyond, when challenges to the authority of medicine eroded the paternalistic authority of physicians and promoted the concept of patient autonomy. The "my body, my business" ideal in the clinical setting dovetailed with broader societal concerns about snoops, spies, and surveillance, setting the stage for a fundamental recasting of the politics of surveillance in the last decades of the twentieth century. The encounter over HIV represented the high water mark of patient participation in the politics of surveillance. But the democratization of privacy would also mark debates about many different forms of surveillance, including cancer, immunization, and birth defects.
Ronald Bayer, PhD, serves as Co-Director of the Program in the History of Medicine and Public Health at the Mailman School. His work on the ethics of public health has centered on AIDS, and he has studied tuberculosis policy and tobacco regulations in liberal democracies.
Amy Fairchild, PhD, MPH is the Assistant Director for Scholarly and Academic Affairs at the Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health. Her work, which focuses on the intersection of history and public health policy, has appeared in Science, The American Journal of Public Health, and The Bulletin of the History of Medicine.
This event is free and open to the public. CME credit is available. For more information about NYAM programs in the history of medicine, visit our website at http://www.nyam.org/initiatives/im-histe.shtml , write firstname.lastname@example.org , or call Christian Warren at 212.822.7314.
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