Pandemics, China, and the Coronavirus

John M. Barry

Part of the 2020 Spring series: U.S.-China Relations
Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Tomson Hall 280

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About the Speaker

Photo of John M. Barry

John M. Barry

Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author

John M. Barry is an award-winning and New York Times best-selling author whose books have involved him in two areas of policy-making relating to preparedness and resilience.  The National Academies of Science named The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, a 2004 study of the 1918 pandemic, the year’s outstanding science book.  He was the only non-scientist ever to give the National Academies of Sciences Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture.  A member of the original team which recommended public health strategies to mitigate a pandemic, he worked on the issue directly with the White House in the Bush and Obama administrations as well as with HHS, CDC, national security entities, and state and local health departments, and he serves or has served on numerous advisory boards including at MIT and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.His work has appeared in publications ranging from Nature and Journal of Infectious Disease to Sports Illustrated, and he has appeared as a guest on numerous foreign media and every broadcast network in the United States, ranging from NBC’s Meet the Press, PBS’s The News Hour, and NPR’s All Things Considered to Fox, and he has both written for and been the subject of a cover story in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

The Society of American Historians named his earlier book Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America the year’s best book on American history and the New York Public Library named it one of the 50 “most memorable” books – whether fiction, non-fiction, or poetry – of the preceding 50 years.  After Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s congressional delegation asked him to chair a bipartisan working group on flood protection, and he served for six years on both the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, responsible for statewide hurricane protection, and Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East, overseeing levee districts in metro New Orleans, where he was chief architect of its lawsuit against 97 oil companies for their role in coastal land loss. He lives in New Orleans, where he is adjunct faculty at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Distinguished Scholar at Tulane’s Bywater Institute.