Impact of SARS Explored at Yale Weekend Workshop

International researchers, medical practitioners, policy makers and others who have been on the “frontlines” of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic will share their experiences in a workshop held Sept. 19 to 21 at Yale University.

Titled “Globalization’s Newest Challenge: SARS,” the event is free and open to the public. The Council on East Asian Studies, part of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies (YCIAS), and the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, are sponsors.

“Our goal is to present a workshop that helps us understand the first 10 months of the SARS outbreak in the largest socio-cultural framework,” said conference moderator Deborah S. Davis, professor of sociology and director of graduate studies in East Asian Studies.

Davis said most people in Asia are expecting to deal with SARS on a public level again in November. “We were extremely lucky that SARS wasn’t a bigger problem in America,” she said. “It also appears that fatality rates were often highest in areas which had the most advanced medical care. For years, we have assumed that infectious disease primarily threatened the health and economic well being of people in developing countries. SARS has taught us that we can no longer operate under old assumptions.”

“Global world economy and frequent transcontinental travel means that SARS, or another such illness, will likely again challenge economics and health care, as well as social and cultural institutions,” Davis added. “So we decided to bring together scholars, researchers, writers, policy makers and medical practitioners from the U.S., Hong Kong, Canada, China, Taiwan and Singapore who have personally dealt with SARS this past spring to share their understanding of where we stand in the fall of 2003.”

The workshop opens on Friday September 19 at 8 p.m. with “Artistic Reponses to SARS,” a screening of films and videos and an exhibition of photographs depicting life in areas heavily affected by SARS. This event, which takes place in Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave., will be repeated on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Saturday’s events begin at 8:45 a.m. in Davies Auditorium, Becton Center, 15 Prospect St., with opening remarks by Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan, chair of the Council on East Asian Studies and professor of art history, and Susan Hockfield, Yale Provost and the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology.

During the day, there will be four panel discussions exploring the impact of the SARS epidemic. At 9 a.m. Michele Barry, M.D., director of Yale’s International Health Office and professor of medicine and global health will moderate “Medicine and Public Health.”

At 11:15 a.m., “Politics and Society,” explores the long-term impact of SARS on political systems. The moderator is Pierre-Francois Landry, assistant professor of political science at Yale.

The third discussion, “Economics and Trade,” at 2 p.m., will examine how SARS outbreaks have affected the structure and dynamics of global economy. The moderator, Helen F. Siu, is a Yale professor of anthropology. The final discussion, “Culture and Media,” begins at 4 p.m.

Sunday’s events include a roundtable from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., focusing on policy implications and the lessons learned from SARS.

Other Yale participants in “Globalization’s Newest Challenge: SARS” include Ernesto Zedillo, director of the Center for the Study of Globalization; and faculty members Nancy E. Chapman (Yale-China Association); Norbert Hirschhorn, M.D., (Epidemiology and Public Health); William Kelly (Japanese Studies and anthropology); John Treat (East Asian Languages and Literatures); Abbey Newman (Council on East Asian Studies’ China Program); Gustav Ranis (YCIAS and International Economics); and Fan Yun, a Coca-Cola Visiting Fellow at YCIAS.

A complete schedule of events is located on the Council of East Asian Studies Web site at For more information, call Abbey Newman at (203) 432-9382.

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