The Center for Science and the Common Good welcomes Peter L. Salk, M.D., to campus. Dr. Salk, son of Jonas Salk (developer of the polio vaccine) and president of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, will deliver a lecture and host of screening of the film The Shot Felt 'Round the World.
Dr. Salk graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 1965 and Alpha Omega Alpha from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1969. Following two years of house staff training in internal medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, he worked in his father's laboratory at the Salk Institute from 1972 to 1984 conducting research on immunotherapy of cancer, autoimmune disease and strategies for vaccine production. He worked again with his father from 1991 to 1995 on a project to develop an inactivated vaccine for HIV infection, and subsequently worked on the introduction of AIDS treatment programs in Africa and Asia. As President of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, he is currently devoting attention to the various aspects of his father's legacy and their potential contributions to helping humanity address its present and future challenges and opportunities.
The images and memories in The Shot Felt 'Round the World are still familiar to those of a certain age. Children in braces or iron lungs. The terrifying fear that washed over America each summer: a fear that out of nowhere a seemingly healthy child would catch polio and be crippled or killed. A fear so great that children were forbidden to play at pools, playgrounds and movie theaters. And, then, a medical miracle occurred, and with it, a medical superstar was made: Dr. Jonas Salk, whose name became synonymous with a vaccine that he initially requested not be named after him. Less widely known are the events that took place from 1949 to 1955, a six-year period that changed the medical community and the country forever: how a beloved, polio-afflicted President inspired a nation to send their dimes to the unlikely place of the University of Pittsburgh, and how there, an entire community pulled together to conquer the most feared disease of the 20th century.