Society for the History of Navy Medicine–Fifth Annual Meeting a Success

The Society held its Fifth Annual Meeting and Papers Session in conjunction with the U S Naval Academy’s McMullen Naval Historical Symposium last week. The Society sponsored two panels:

Dr Beeler, Dr Convertito-Farrar, Mr Rath

Panel One, “The Health of Sailors” featured papers by Professor John Beeler, Dr Cori Convertito-Farrar and Mr Andrew Rath, with Commentary by Professor Chris McKee.

Both Professor Beeler’s and Dr Convertito-Farrar’s papers concerned Yellow Fever in the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries while Mr Rath discussed the impact of an Admiral’s suicide upon naval operations in the Pacific during the Crimean War.

Panel Two, “From Guantanamo to Puerto Rico to Project X231”, highlighted scholarly work of Doctors Gerard Fitzgerald

Professor Langley (Commentator), Dr Fitzgerald, Dr Schiappacasse, Mr Moustafa

(Project X231–a World War II study of the effectiveness of ultraviolet lighting in reducing respiratory infections among troops) and Paola Schiappacasse (the history of a quarantine station in Puerto Rico utilizing primary written and archeological resources), and Mr Raed Moustafa (ethical dilemmas facing medical personnel at the U S detainee facility in Guantanamo, Cuba).

At the end of each panel, Society Executive Director Captain Tom Snyder presented the student (or recently student) authors, Mr Rath, Mr Moustafa, and Doctors Convertito-Farrar and Schiappacasse with the first-ever Society Graduate Student Travel Grant of $750 each.

Our panels, which faced rigorous competition from a large variety of outstanding–if more “traditional”–naval historical fare, were well attended. The Society garnered five new members at Annapolis, bringing our membership to 165 people from around the world.

We plan to publish most if not all of these papers in a Session “Proceedings”. This will appear in The Grog, a quarterly digest of naval medical history and heritage published electronically by the Office of Medical History at the U S Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. We will announce the publication here.

In the evening, a few authors and conference attendees gathered at a local Annapolis restaurant for the “Meeting” portion of our Annual Meeting and Papers Session. Over a pleasant meal, we discussed the panels-just-past, and plans for the Society’s panel at the April 26-29 2012 meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine in Baltimore. Mark your calendars now and plan to join us!

© 2011 Thomas L Snyder

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