The ScienceBlogs Book Club

Archives for June, 2010

Karen Starko writes: When the “financial crisis” started and the news media started throwing around numbers in the trillions and projected fixes in the billions, I realized I just didn’t get it. So I got a little yellow post-it, labeled it “understanding trillions,” and started a list of examples. And when I learned that the…

Liz Borkowski writes: Mark Pendergrast wrote yesterday about how politics plays into the work of the EIS, and it’s something that I kept noticing as I read Inside the Outbreaks. As he points out, my post last week highlighted the solution to the Reye’s Syndrome puzzle – which was solved by Karen Starko, who’s also…

Mark Pendergrast writes: Thanks to commentators Liz Borkowski, Karen Starko, Steve Schoenbaum, and Mark Rosenberg for their thoughtful posts, though it appears that Mark Rosenberg’s post got cut off after his first-paragraph query asking why anyone would go into the field of public health. I will wait to respond to his post once I see…

Reading Between the Lines

Steve Schoenbaum writes: “Inside the Outbreaks”, Mark Pendergrast’s wonderful history of the Centers for Disease Control’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), can be read on many levels. I confess that as a former EIS officer (1967-1969), personally familiar with most of the “elite medical detectives” of the first few decades, I tended to read it “between…

In addition to author Mark Pendergrast, we have four more outstanding contributors here to discuss Inside the Outbreaks over the next few weeks. Though they all come from public health backgrounds, their experiences in and with the Epidemic Intelligence Service are all different. Check out their bios below and tune in to see what they…

Why would anyone do this work?

What is it that drives people to public health in general and to EIS in particular? Public health is notorious for being the lowest paid medical specialty of all. In addiiton, when you work to prevent diseases and injuries you don’t have identified patients the way you do when you are treating patients. So why…

Karen Starko writes: Even though I am a former EIS officer I am still amazed by the many successes of the EIS that Mark Pendergrast so clearly details in Inside the Outbreaks, The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service. As I reflect on the outbreaks and epidemics described in the book and my…

Epidemiology Superheroes

Liz Borkowski writes: Mark Pendergrast’s Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service is a fast-paced tour through nearly six decades of epidemiology achievements by this relatively small program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a fast and fascinating read, and its episodic structure makes it an easy…

Inside the Outbreaks

Mark Pendergrast writes: To kick off this book club discussion of Inside the Outbreaks, I thought I would explain briefly how I came to write the book and then suggest some possible topics for discussion. The origin of the book goes back to an email I got in 2004 from my old high school and…

Before writing Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Atlanta native Mark Pendergrast authored a history of another of the city’s cornerstone institutions, the Coca-Cola company, in addition to a history of coffee and two other books. Pendergrast graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature before receiving his…