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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Dec 2, 2020

Not too long ago, parents lived with the near certainty of losing a child or two. Even in the world’s wealthiest nations, children died of diarrhea, diphtheria and measles, of scarlet fever and meningitis. Our culture was shaped by these deaths. But over the past century, we’ve made huge strides in reducing infant and child mortality rates, and Perri Klass joined us to pull the story of that crusade together for the first time.

Pediatrician and writer Klass shared an overview of this improvement with support from her book A Good Time to Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future. She examines the history of child mortality, how it affected every level of society, regardless of access to resources: from presidents and titans of industry, to the poor and powerless. She payed tribute to scientists, public health advocates, and groundbreaking women doctors who brought new scientific ideas about sanitation and vaccination to families. Don’t miss this hopeful conversation about the great strides that have transformed parenting, doctoring, and the way we live.

Perri Klass is a professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University, codirector of NYU Florence, and national medical director of Reach Out and Read. She writes the weekly column “The Checkup” for the New York Times.

Paula S. Fass is a professor of history emerita at UC Berkeley, and the author of several books, most recently of The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child. Over her 45 year career, she has researched and written about many areas of American culture and society, including parenting, immigration, education, sexuality, and youth culture.

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