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World Expert On Drug Policy And Public Health

Auckland Welcomes World Expert On Drug Policy And Public Health

A world-renowned expert on drug policy, HIV/AIDS and public health history is among keynote speakers at the ninth biennial conference of the Australian Society of the History of Medicine, hosted by The University of Auckland and entitled “Health and History: International Perspectives”.

Professor Virginia Berridge, Professor of History and Head of the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, is writing a history on post-1945 British smoking policy and its relationship to concepts of public health. She is also working on two projects in which the lessons of history are applied to current and future alcohol and drug policy.

Professor Berridge – a University of Auckland Distinguished Visitor for 2005 – will deliver the conference’s first keynote address, “Can history predict the future? Reflections on the role of history in policy.”

She will examine, among other things, whether historians should be activists in policy and the implications of their involvement.

Dr Linda Bryder, Associate Professor in History at The University of Auckland and the conference convener, says this is the first time the biennial conference has been held in New Zealand. More than 100 experts on “health and history” are attending, with over 80 papers being presented over the conference’s three days.

“By bringing together scholars from around the world we hope to foster discussion of health and medicine from different perspectives,” says Dr Bryder. “Topics will include childbirth and women’s health, medical migration, mental health, nursing, and a wide range of public health issues including fluoridation and vaccination.”

(Dr Bryder also advises that a remit is to be considered at the AGM of the Society to change its name to “The Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine.”)

Other keynote speakers include Professor David Wright, Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McMaster University (Ontario, Canada). Professor Wright will speak on “Medical diasporas: the international migration of physicians, c. 1955-75” with special reference to India, South Africa and Britain.

Professor Wright’s current research includes an exploration of the history of suicide in Australia and New Zealand c.1870-1945. He will also present public seminars on the history of mental institutions.

“Health and History: International Perspectives” The 9th Biennial Conference of the Australian Society of History of Medicine February 16-19 The University of Auckland

In addition, a half-day public “witness seminar” on Auckland's contribution to fetal medicine will be held at the conclusion of the conference. Participants in the seminar include some of the leading figures in the work that placed National Women’s Hospital at the forefront internationally in the care of neonates, including Professors Peter Stone, Peter Gluckman and Colin Mantell, Drs David Becroft, Pat Clarkson, Keitha Farmer, Ross Howie, David Knight, Paul Lancaster, Barton McArthur, Neil Pattison and John Stewart, Mr Ray Laurie and Ms Penelope Dunkley.

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