Using never-before-mapped data, newly geocoded historical maps, and original research and reporting, science journalist Sonia Shah and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting have created a series of interactive story-maps of two parallel epidemics, the 1832 outbreak of cholera in New York City and the 2010 outbreak of cholera in Haiti. Their online project, “Mapping Cholera: A Tale of Two Cities,” first showcased on Scientific American online on the fourth anniversary of the Haiti cholera epidemic, shows how novel pathogens spread in susceptible populations stressed by environmental disruptions and sanitary crises. This special event will feature a showing of “Mapping Cholera,” along with a discussion on the past, present, and future of cholera and other emerging infectious diseases, with Sonia Shah, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Médecins Sans Frontières, along with other special guests.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an innovative award-winning non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting the independent international journalism that U.S. media organizations are increasingly less able to undertake. The Center focuses on under-reported topics, promoting high-quality international reporting and creating platforms that reach broad and diverse audiences.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders is a Nobel-Peace-prize winning medical humanitarian organization, which has led international efforts to tame infectious disease outbreaks around the world, including the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the cholera epidemic in Haiti.

About the Speakers

Sonia Shah is a science journalist and prize-winning author. Her writing on science, politics, and human rights has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign AffairsScientific American, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured on RadioLab, Fresh Air, and TED, where her talk, “Three Reasons We Still Haven’t Gotten Rid of Malaria,” has been viewed by over 900,000 people around the world. Her 2010 book, The Fever, which was called a “tour-de-force history of malaria” (New York Times), “rollicking” (Time), and “brilliant” (Wall Street Journal), was long-listed for the Royal Society’s Winton Prize. Her latest book, Cholera’s Child: Tracking the Next Pandemic, is forthcoming from Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux in October 2015.

Dr. Jonathan Epstein is a veterinary epidemiologist and Associate Vice President of Conservation Medicine at EcoHealth Alliance, an NGO based in New York. He currently works within a large consortium under the USAID-funded Emerging Pandemic Threats: PREDICT program, a global effort to establish an early warning system for emerging viruses with pandemic potential through targeted wildlife disease surveillance. He also directs the One Health Alliance of South Asia (OHASA), a multi-lateral science and policy network with members from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, focused on the control and prevention of trans-boundary zoonotic diseases. His work has been published in several leading scientific journals including Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; and his work has been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, 60 Minutes, and The Discovery Channel.

Pablo Mayrgundter was a founding member of's Crisis Response team after the Haiti earthquake. Pablo has worked at Google for 8 years, previously on web search, grid computing and currently Google's registry for the gTLD domain name extensions. Before Google, Pablo co-founded multiple machine learning and networking startups and studied Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University. Pablo grew up in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and was born in Cali, Colombia.

Annie Sparrow, MBBS, MRCP, FRACP, MPH, combines the clinical skills of an experienced practitioner with public-health expertise acquired from work in many of the world’s most devastating combat zones. She is currently Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Human Rights Program in the Department of Global Health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, where she teaches human rights and humanitarian aid in complex emergencies. An Australian, Dr. Sparrow spent most of her first ten postgraduate years practicing pediatric critical care in London and her native Perth. Since 2012 her focus has been on the humanitarian and human rights catastrophe in Syria. She has published widely on the public health crisis, including the systematic assaults on doctors and targeting of medical care, and the re-emergence of poliomyelitis.

The event is free and open to the public; advance registration is requested. To register for this event, click here: Mapping Cholera

We look forward to seeing you at this and other events in the 2014–2015 series. For more information about many other upcoming history of medicine events in the New York area, see the calendar page of our blog, Books, Health, and History: