Daphne C. Watkins adds a Valuable thought to the Epidemic Discussion

In the last week of October, a discussion was held at the Knafel Center (Radcliffe Gym), Cambridge, known as the “Contagion: Exploring Modern Epidemics”. The discussion was to discuss epidemics and the widespread of various plagues and how it affects the lives of thousands.
The discussion was held among various knowledgeable professors, journalists, researchers, and physicians. The keynote speaker at this discussion was the journalist, Laurie Garrett. She has covered many diseases which had spread like wildfire. Garrett even received a Pulitzer Prize for her notable work. She has been covering the outbreaks of infectious diseases for decades.
According to what she spoke about in the discussion, she is of the opinion that the need for a sturdy health infrastructure is of utmost importance. She said that the establishment of health infrastructure would significantly help in controlling the widespread of infectious diseases. From her experience, she said, most of the diseases could have left a smaller impact on the lives of thousands if the funding had been received in time.
Garret said that funding for medical and health issues during an epidemic in any part of the world is largely dependent only two people, the U.S. government, and Bill Gates. She said that we are dealing with “supranational problems.” She even went on to tell the audience that these issues could arise due to uncontrollable changes in the environment or due to lack of immunity.
Among another discussion here at the Knafel Center, Kevin M. Esvelt, assistant professor at MIT, spoke about his and his group’s endeavors at reducing epidemics. Esvelt’s lab has been endeavoring in creating genetically engineered mice, which can become immune to the Lyme disease. Another panel discussed the use of big data for understanding the diseases at their molecular level by gathering population-based records.
The most important discussion came from the assistant professor of social work and psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Daphne C. Watkins. According to him, “gender epidemic” seems like a much bigger problem. She says that following the unrealistic definition of “manhood” is damaging the mental state of young black men.
Andrew V. Papachristos, associate professor of sociology at Yale University, looked into the matter of spread of violence. He found that the spread of gun violence among vulnerable populations, especially among the black populations with gang affiliation is no less than a widespread epidemic.
He suggests that the map of victims from gun violence looks precisely like a map people affected by an epidemic. The assistant professor says that people who closely associated to the people are likely to become the next the victims.
On a different topic, Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, says that exposure matters. He says that at present the most massive epidemic faced by the U.S. is the opioid epidemic. The cause for this is repeated exposure. He says that people with an addiction for opioid may turn to heroin or other black market substance to quench their thirst. Another infection is the overprescribing of painkiller and un-recreational use of painkillers or analgesics. All of this has led to another epidemic.
The discussions in this discussion among various panelists varied from topic to topic. They drew out social as well as infectious epidemic’s causes. Although the discussion was quite serious, all the panelists remained highly optimistic of their future endeavors which will help in eradicating these outbreaks.

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