Lecture to offer a timely revision of the history of modern medicine – stressing how slavery, colonialism and war drove the study of infectious disease

Protecting the health of our communities relies on scientific insights many of us take for granted. How did the field of epidemiology develop, and why is this history relevant today?

Award-winning historian Dr. Jim Downs will deliver a lecture titled “The Troubled and Troubling Origins of Epidemiology: How Slavery and Colonialism Changed Medicine” on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in the James and Betty Hall Theatre on Dutchess Community College’s Poughkeepsie campus. The lecture is the fifth event in the Dr. D. David Conklin Distinguished Lecture Series, established by the DCC Foundation to recognize the College’s fourth president, who retired in 2014.

Dr. Jim Downs is the Gilder Lehrman-National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Civil War Era Studies and History at Gettysburg College. He is the author of “Maladies of Empire: How Colonialism, Slavery, and War Transformed Medicine,” which has been translated into Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

In addition to his other books, “Sick from Freedom: African American Sickness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction” and “Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation,” Downs has published essays in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vice, Slate, The Lancet, LA Times and others. He is also a partner at History Studio, where he hosts podcasts on how to tell an authentic story.

This is a free community event. For more information, call the DCC Foundation at (845) 431-8400. Please request sign language interpreting services or other special accommodations at least two weeks prior to the event by contacting Linda Bertolozzi at (845) 431-8058 or bertoloz@sunydutchess.edu.