When photojournalist David Rochkind began reporting on manifestations of the TB epidemic the topic simply represented an under-reported issue he felt deserved broader attention.
Over the past few years, David has reported from India, South Africa and Moldova, visiting TB patients in their homes, speaking with NGOs working on the disease, and slowly beginning to understand the challenges that arise with every step of the treatment and prevention efforts.
After gaining a deeper understanding of the global incidence and mortality rate statistics as well as the social and economic consequences of the disease, he believed something more needed to be done. He was inspired to take his journalistic efforts one step further: engaging youth on the topic through his reporting and inspiring them to become part of the solution.
The launch of the free, web-based education program EPIDEMIC: TB in the Global Community is the result. The website was unveiled today to mark World TB Day 2011 on Capitol Hill during a Senate briefing held by the Global Health Council and American Thoracic Society to highlight awareness of tuberculosis and advocate for increased attention to the disease, globally and in the United States.
The program introduces American and international communities, students, educators, and health care providers to the personal stories of victims of this disease through a rich multi-media site that puts a human face on the statistics. Interactive curriculum units for use in social studies and health contexts were developed by EDC to accompany the site. These units lead students to explore the personal and social consequences of TB, both in the countries pictured on the website and in their own lives. Activities are group-oriented and intended to stimulate conversation and sharing in the classroom.
The Pulitzer Center will offer this resource as part of its educational outreach campaigns on systemic global issues, providing opportunities to students across the country to learn more about this topic and engage directly with David on his reporting. David has begun visits to schools in the DC area to talk about the project and help raise awareness about the effects of tuberculosis on individuals suffering from the disease, their families, and the larger community. During a visit with juniors and seniors in the Biomedical Academy at Wheaton High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, students and staff viewed David's photos from Moldova, India, and South Africa and discussed the various methods of TB prevention and treatment. Students found that photography was a powerful tool in telling the story of those affected by the disease and helped them better understand the circumstances in which many TB patients survive.
The website uses photographs and mulitimedia tools to guide students through the realities of the disease and through case studies from India, South Africa, and Moldova to inform students about its societal consequences. The goal of the project is to create a personal connection between students and the broader issues surrounding tuberculosis, and to shine a light on how these issues can manifest abroad--as well as right here in the United States.
EPIDEMIC: TB in the Global Community was developed by the Educational Development Center (EDC) in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting's Global Gateway Education Program. The initiative was made possible through a grant from the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, which supported the development of this education initiative.