The Park Street Corporation Speaker Series began at Boston College in Spring, 2016 with the goal of convening distinguished professionals, scholars, and activists from medicine, health care, and other related fields around timely subjects related to the intersections of health, humanities, and ethics. Found below is information about our past speakers.
Universal Health Care? From Slogan to Mantra
Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer has dedicated his life to improving health care for the world's poorest people. He is Co-founder and Chief Strategist of Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that since 1987 has provided direct health care services and undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings.
Dr. Farmer holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he is the Kolokotrones University Professor and the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; he is also Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. Additionally, Dr. Farmer serves as the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti.
Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. His most recent books are In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, Reimagining Global Health: An Introduction, and To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation. Dr. Farmer is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and, with his PIH colleagues, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A Path Appears: Reporting on Gender Inequities and Global Health
Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
This event is co-sponsored by the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics.
Husband-and-wife duo Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn combine journalism and activism in their unique brand of reporting centered on human rights abuses and advocacy. The first married couple to win a Pulitzer in journalism for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement, they co-wrote China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power and most recently penned the best-selling Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Addressing worldwide maltreatment, marginalization, and brutality towards women, Half the Sky draws a compelling picture of the trials and triumphs of women struggling for opportunity and equality. Called "electrifying" by The Washington Post, the book inspired a special four-hour PBS series of the same name.
A two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, Kristof is often called a “reporter’s reporter” for his activism and was the subject of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival documentary Reporter. He has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to 140 countries, all 50 states, every Chinese province, and every main Japanese island in order to offer a compassionate glimpse into global health, poverty, and gender in the developing world. As part of the Half the Sky documentary series, Kristof travelled around the world along with celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde to meet inspiring individuals confronting the global oppression of women.
The first Asian American to win a Pulitzer Prize, WuDunn is a business executive, entrepreneur, and best-selling author. She has special expertise in Asia, entrepreneurship, global women's issues, and philanthropy. As an investment banker, she currently helps growth companies, including those operating in the fields of new media technology, entertainment, social media, healthcare, and the emerging markets, particularly China. In conjunction with Half the Sky, she helped launch the development of a robust multimedia effort, creating a thoughtful, effective philanthropic strategy that includes an online social game for Facebook, the PBS documentary series, and outreach with many NGOs.
As world-renowned human rights activists, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn give a voice to the voiceless.
Disability Bioethics: Toward Theory and Practice
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is Professor of English and Co-Director of the Disability Studies Initiative at Emory University. Her fields of study are disability studies, American literature and culture, bioethics, and women’s studies. Her work develops the field of critical disability studies in the health humanities, broadly understood, to bring forward disability access, inclusion and identity to communities inside and outside of the academy.
She is the author of Staring: How We Look (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature (Columbia University Press, 1997); coeditor of Re-Presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the Museum (Routledge, 2010) and Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities (Modern Language Association, 2002); and editor of Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body (New York University Press, 1996). Her current book project is Habitable Worlds: Toward a Disability Bioethics.
Escaping Melodrama:...the infamous research studies in Tuskegee and Guatemala
November 17, 2016
November 17, 2016
Susan M. Reverby is the Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College in Wellesley Massachusetts. She was a women’s health activist in New York in the early 1970s. An historian of American women, race, medicine, public health and nursing, she has taught at Wellesley since 1982 and was the college’s first hire in Women’s Studies. She also served as the consumer representative on the FDA’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Advisory Panel in the mid 1990s.
Reverby’s work has had both a public and scholarly face and she often comments on health, race and feminist issues in the media. Her first co-edited book focused on the history of America’s working women. Her Ordered to Care: the Dilemma of American Nursing (1987) won the Lavinia Dock Award from the American Association for the History of Nursing. She is also known for her co-edited books in women’s and medical history.
For nearly the last two decades Reverby has been an historian of the infamous “Tuskegee” syphilis study. Her edited book Tuskegee’s Truths: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study appeared in 2000 and her most recent book is Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and its Legacy (2009). This book won the Viseltear Prize from the American Public Health Association, the Emerson prize from national Phi Beta Kappa, and the Sulzby Prize from the Alabama History Association. She continues to work with community members in Tuskegee on the history and legacy of the Study and was part of the Legacy Committee that successfully lobbied President Bill Clinton for an apology in 1997. In May 2011 she received an honorary degree from Sage College and another one in Social Justice from Roosevelt University in December 2012.
As part of her research on Tuskegee, Reverby found the records of an unpublished research study in Guatemala in the 1940s that involved giving sexually transmitted diseases to prisoners, soldiers and mental patients. She shared her work with the CDC and in October 2010 the U.S. government issues a formal apology to the Guatemala. The result was worldwide media coverage, investigations in two countries, lawsuits and a report from the President’s Bioethical Issues Commission. Her current book project is tentatively titled: “Brother Doc: Solidarity and Revolution in 20th Century America."
Preventing the Next Global Pandemic: Lessons from Ebola and Zika
December 1, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Ashish K. Jha, M.D., M.P.H. is the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and the K.T. Li Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as well as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a practicing Internal Medicine physician at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
Dr. Jha received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and trained in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco where he also served as Chief Medical Resident. He completed his General Medicine fellowship from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and received his M.P.H. from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
He is nationally and internationally recognized expert in assessing and improving healthcare delivery systems with a particular focus on health care quality. He has led and co-led numerous successful projects for large funding bodies, resulting in over 200 high-impact publications in top journals. His major research interests lie in improving the quality and costs of healthcare with projects focused on four primary areas:
- Transparency and public reporting of provider performance
- Financial incentives for quality and accountability in health care,
- Health information technology,
- Leadership and management,
And the roles they play in improving the delivery of safe, effective, patient-centered care.
With a strong body of analytic work on the US healthcare system, Dr. Jha also founded the Harvard Initiative on Global Health Quality (HIGHQ), led an international Health Information Technology benchmarking effort with the OECD and co-chaired the Harvard-LSHTM independent panel on the global response to Ebola: “Will Ebola change the game? Ten essential reforms before the next pandemic.” Over the past five years, he has served as an advisor to ministries of health and large NGOs on the design and evaluation of policy, including serving as the Special Advisor for Quality and Safety to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Lessons from the Streets: Three Decades Caring for Boston's Rough Sleepers
Jim O'Connell, M.D.
January 26, 2017
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Dr. James O’Connell graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1970 and received his master’s degree in theology from Cambridge University in 1972. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1982, he completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In 1985, he began full-time clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), which now serves over 13,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics (Boston Medical Center and MGH) and in more than 60 shelters and outreach sites in Boston. With his colleagues, Dr. O’Connell established the nation’s first medical respite program for homeless persons in September 1985, with 25 beds in the Lemuel Shattuck Shelter. This innovative program now provides acute and subacute, pre- and post-operative, and palliative and end-of-life care in the freestanding 104-bed Barbara McInnis House. Working with the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science, Dr. O’Connell designed and implemented the nation’s first computerized medical record for a homeless program in 1995.
From 1989 until 1996, Dr. O'Connell served as the National Program Director of the Homeless Families Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has collaborated with homeless programs in many cities in the US and across the globe, including Los Angeles, London, and Sydney. Dr. O’Connell is the author of Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor (2015) and is president of BHCHP and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Recovery: The Making of HBO's “Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing”
February 23, 2017
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Patrick Downes, Psy.D., is a 2005 graduate of the Lynch School of Education and a proud Double Eagle (BC High 2001). He recently received his doctorate in psychology. He and his wife, Jessica Kensky, were severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, and both are now amputees. They have been patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center since 2014, where Jessica continues to receive surgical care. Patrick and Jessica strive to use the attention that has come their way to highlight important issues, namely: trauma care, military and civilian medical collaboration, disability rights, veterans care, and community responses to terrorism. This fall, they announced, along with Patrick’s BC classmates, that they had raised over $250k to endow the BC Strong Scholarship to support a student with a physical disability. They participated in the HBO documentary “Marathon” to help people understand the complexity and nuances of recovery after tragedy.
What's Wrong With Me?: The Mysteries of Chronic Illness
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Meghan O’Rourke is the award-winning author of the memoir The Long Goodbye (2011), as well as the poetry collections Once (2011) and Halflife (2007). Formerly an editor at The New Yorker, Slate, and The Paris Review, she has published essays and journalism in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and elsewhere. She was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Front Page Award for her cultural criticism, among other prizes. A graduate of Yale University, she teaches at Princeton and the Creative Writing Program at New York University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is at work on a book about chronic illness and autoimmune disease.
Moral Agency and the Neuroscience of Addiction
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Steven E. Hyman, M.D. is Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, and a core faculty member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. From 2001 to 2011, he served as Provost of Harvard University, the University’s chief academic officer. From 1996 to 2001, he served as director of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he emphasized investment in neuroscience and emerging genetic technologies. He also initiated a series of large practical clinical trials, including an emphasis on children, a population about which little was known.
Hyman is member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the editor of the Annual Review of Neuroscience. He has served as President (2014-5) of the Society for Neuroscience, the leading professional organization for the field, is a Fellow and President-elect of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), and was founding President of the International Neuroethics Society. Hyman serves on multiple nonprofit boards including the Dana Foundation and the Charles Revson Foundation, on the boards of two biotechnology companies, Voyager Therapeutics and Q State, and multiple scientific advisory boards. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Hyman received his B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College; an M.A. from the University of Cambridge, which he attended as a Mellon fellow; and an M.D. cum laude from Harvard Medical School.
The Impact Of Pollution On Planetary Health: Emergence of an Underappreciated Risk Factor
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, DIH, is Professor of Environmental Medicine, Public Health and Pediatrics and Dean for Global Health in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and leader in public health and preventive medicine. Dr. Landrigan’s pioneering research on the effects of lead poisoning in children contributed to the U.S. government’s decision to remove lead from gasoline and paint. His leadership of a National Academy of Sciences Committee on pesticides in children’s diets generated widespread understanding that children are uniquely vulnerable to toxic chemicals in the environment and helped to secure the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the only federal environmental law in the United States that contains explicit protections for the health of children. It led also to establishment of EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection. Dr. Landrigan was a leader in developing the National Children’s Study, the largest epidemiological study of children’s health and the environment ever launched in the United States. He has been centrally involved in the medical and epidemiologic studies that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He has consulted extensively to the World Health Organization. Dr. Landrigan currently chairs The Lancet-Mount Sinai Global Commission on Pollution & Health. Dr. Landrigan is a graduate of Boston Latin School, Boston College, Harvard Medical School and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is a 41-year veteran of the US Public Health Service and the US Navy.
Rural Medicine: A South African Perspective
Sally and Karl le Roux
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Sally and Karl le Roux, a South African medical doctor couple, have worked since 2006 at a small rural facility called Zithulele Hospital in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, not far from where Nelson Mandela was born. Starting off with a team of only four doctors in a part of South Africa devastated by HIV, they often struggled to get through the massive patient load every day. Yet, they have drawn an ever-increasing number of doctors and allied health care workers to the hospital each year. Today, Zithulele Hospital is widely regarded as one of the best rural government hospitals in South Africa, with a team of sixteen doctors and twenty health care workers in the allied health professions.
Sally qualified as a doctor at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2000. She has a Masters in International Health from Uppsala University, Diplomas in the Management of HIV and Child Health, and a special interest in Paediatric HIV. In 2016 she became the founding principal of the Zithulele Independent School, now teaching first and second grades along with her work in the Zithulele Paediatric HIV clinic.
Karl qualified at UCT in 1999, and he also has a Masters in International Health from Uppsala, with Diplomas in Obstetrics and Anaesthetics. He was the Chairperson of the Rural Doctors' Association of South Africa from 2008 to 2012 and is an Honorary Lecturer in the Primary Health Care Directorate of UCT and the Family Medicine Department of Walter Sisulu University. Since 2013, he has run several longitudinal studies in the communities around Zithulele Hospital examining what happens to babies born at the hospital and their mothers over time. His special interests include HIV medicine, providing good maternity care, the role of community health workers in primary care and how to make rural hospitals sustainable.
This fall, Sally and Karl are teaching a policy task force about Maternal and Child Health in South Africa at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Food and Climate Change: A Conversation with Michael Pollan hosted by Juliet Schor
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Thursday, November 2, 2017
For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. He is the author of numerous bestsellers including In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire. His book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, was an immediate # 1 New York Times bestseller upon publication. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (April 2013). Documentaries on PBS and Netflix have also showcased Pollan’s work. Contributing to the New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards and in 2009 Pollan was named one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders” by Newsweek magazine. His essays have appeared in many anthologies and other magazines including Harper’s (where he served for many years as executive editor), Mother Jones, Gourmet, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gardens Illustrated, and The Nation. Michael Pollan was chosen by Time Magazine for the 2010 Time 100 in the Thinkers category. In 2014 Michael Pollan was awarded the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, and gardening.
Michael Pollan will be interviewed by Boston College’s Juliet Schor, professor of Sociology, whose research focuses on work, consumption, and sustainability. Her interests include the sharing economy, climate change, and alternative food provisioning.
Environmental Martyrs and Defenders of the Forest
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Rob Nixon holds the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Family Professorship in Humanities and Environment at Princeton University. He is the author of four books, most recently Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy and Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, which won numerous awards, including the 2012 Sprout prize from the International Studies Association for the best book in environmental studies.
Nixon writes frequently for the New York Times. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian, The Nation, London Review of Books, The Village Voice, Slate, Truthout, Huffington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, Critical Inquiry, Public Culture and elsewhere. Nixon’s work is particularly focused on the relationship between accelerating rates of environmental change and rising rates of economic disparity. How do rich and poor communities experience the impacts of climate change differently? In what ways do rich and poor communities suffer unequal exposure to the risks of a rapidly changing planet? And in what ways do rich and poor enjoy unequal access to diminishing resources in a time of heightened climatic stress? Such questions, he believes, demand imaginative, ethical, technological and political responses.
The Ethics of Food and the Health of the Planet
Thursday, February 22, 2018
February 22, 2018
Willis Jenkins is Professor of Religion, Ethics & Environment at the University of Virginia, where he is also Co-Director of the Institute for Practical Ethics. Jenkins studies how religious traditions interpret social questions, with a particular interest in intersections of religious ethics and environmental questions. He teaches and writes about the ethics of climate change, the ethics of food, the relation of Christian theology to modern environmental problems, and other questions attending moral life in the Anthropocene. Currently, he is also directing an environmental humanities lab that develops transdisciplinary reflections on coastal change at UVA’s NSF-funded Long-Term Ecological Research site.
Jenkins is the author of two award-winning books: Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology (Oxford 2008), which won a Templeton Award for Theological Promise, and The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, and Religious Creativity (Georgetown 2013), which won an American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion. He is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology (2017), as well as author of recent articles on plutocracy, on virtue ethics in climate discourse, and on Pope Francis – among other topics. He is currently writing a book on how the ethics of food matters for post- natural environmental thought.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
March 14, 2018
Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She is the author of four collections of poetry: Thrall (2012); Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000), which was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her book of nonfiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Emory University she is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing. In 2012, she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and in 2013 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Healthy Soil Healthy Minds: Connecting Health, Environment and Ethics
April 5, 2018
April 5, 2018
Nikki Silvestri is the Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a project design and management firm working to create systems change while improving relationships between communities. As the Co- Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director of People’s Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.
An accomplished communicator, Nikki is well known for her combination of vulnerability and razor- sharp analysis. In addition to her speaking appearances at conferences and private events, Nikki regularly forwards the message of equitable economies through numerous media channels. BET.com, the Huffington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle have featured her writing, and her recent television appearances include All In with Chris Hayes and the Melissa Harris Perry Show on MSNBC.
Nikki is a Faculty Member at the Food Business School (she co-designed and taught one of their inaugural courses, “Ethical Leadership in Food Business”). She sits on the Board of Directors of the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE), and is an advisory board member of MeWe, the next-gen social network. Nikki began her work in social change through the foster care system in Southern California, where she directed Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops. She has a masters degree in African American Studies from UCLA, and is originally from Los Angeles. She currently lives in Oakland, with her husband.