Wed • Apr

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


This is a Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis Event



The Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street, New York, NY 10029

Enter on East 104th Street


$15 General Public | $10 Museum Members, Academy Fellows, & Members | Free for Students and Educators with valid ID

At check out, MCNY members must enter the discount code provided by the Museum to receive their discount. Contact for questions.

Fellows, Donors, and Members:enter your email address below and click 'Confirm Email' to be taken to event registration at your discounted rate. Your discount will be applied at checkout.

Students and Educators: contact to register.

The question is not whether there will there be another infectious outbreak. Experts expect a disruptive and deadly epidemic sometime in the next two generations. The question is: how can we best predict and prepare for that outbreak?

Data and informatics are available as tools to inform and promote the public health as never before. Now we can track and analyze microbes and diseases through bodies, populations, and places. However, there are legal and ethical concerns about privacy when tracking people’s data. What does this kind of biosurveillence mean, especially in a world where political and health policy are not separate? With moderator Sonia Shah, investigative journalist and author, Larry Madoff, MD, Director of ProMED and professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Amy Fairchild, PhD, MPH, associate vice president for Faculty and Academic Affairs at the Health Science Center at Texas A&M University and associate dean of Academic Affairs and professor at the School of Public Health, and Lauren Flicker, JD, MBE, associate director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics, we’ll discuss the frontier of the dance between humans and germs as the leading partner changes over time.

Free Gallery Introduction at 5:30 pm – Meet outside our exhibition, Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis, for an introduction from the Museum's Chief Curator Sarah Henry before the program, included with your ticket!

This program accompanies the exhibition Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis (opened September 14, 2018). The program is presented by The New York Academy of Medicine and the Museum of the City of New York, and supported by Wellcome as part of Contagious Cities. To view all of the programs in this series, click here.

People and microbes have always lived together. Bacteria and viruses inhabit us, just as they inhabit cities. Urban environments are crossroads where people, goods, and germs meet. The Germ City exhibition and its programs are the New York City site of the exploration of this cohabitation along with sister sites in Hong Kong and Geneva. This international collaboration, Contagious Cities, was developed by the Wellcome Trust combining different perspectives and expertise to illuminate the role of urban areas in causing and controlling infectious disease as well as telling the stories of human fear and compassion around contagion.

About the Speakers

Larry Madoff, MD is an infectious disease physician specializing in the epidemiology of emerging pathogens, bacterial pathogenesis, and international health. He is Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Lecturer on Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Madoff serves as Director of Epidemiology and Immunization and Deputy State Epidemiologist for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He has directed the International Society for Infectious Diseases’ Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED), since 2002 and serves as ISID’s Director of Emerging Disease Surveillance.

Amy Fairchild, PhD, MPH, serves as associate vice president for Faculty and Academic Affairs at the Health Science Center at Texas A&M University, as well as associate dean of Academic Affairs and professor at the School of Public Health. Dr. Fairchild received her Bachelor of Science degree with highest honors from the Plan II program at the University of Texas, Austin. She received both her Master of Public Health and Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University, where she then joined the faculty as one of the founding members of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health in 1997.

Lauren Sydney Flicker, JD, MBE is an Assistant Professor in the department of Epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics and of the Einstein Cardozo Master of Science in Bioethics. Her courses include Death and Dying, Reproductive Ethics and the Law, and Bioethics and Medical Humanities. Her scholarship focuses on reproductive ethics, end of life care, and ethics consultation. Prior to joining the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics, Professor Flicker was a fellow in the Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics, a multi-institutional program administered by the Cleveland Clinic.  

About the Moderator

Sonia Shah is an investigative journalist and author of critically acclaimed and prize-winning books on science, human rights, and international politics. Her fourth book, Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond has been called “superbly written,” (The Economist) , “bracingly intelligent” (Nature), “provocative” and “chilling,” (New York Times), a “lively, rigorously researched and highly informative read,” (Wall Street Journal) and “absorbing, complex, and ominous,” (Publishers Weekly). It was selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a finalist for the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in science/technology, the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society Award.

Image courtesy of Isometric Studio