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Pulitzer Center Update March 18, 2020

Printable Articles and Virtual Journalist Visits Exploring Past Public Health Emergencies

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Collage of images from reporting by Jon Cohen (top and bottom left), Sonia Shah (top right), and Emily Baumgaertner (bottom right). United States, 2019.

As students continue to learn about the coronavirus (COVID-19), they may become curious about how the world has responded to the spread of infectious diseases in the past. Below, we have assembled a list of printable news articles from our grantees that highlight how communities worldwide have addressed past public health emergencies. Using this printable worksheet, students can track details from the articles and then to use those details for writing and research activities about public health emergencies past and present. Further down, find a list of journalists who may be available to speak with your class about their reporting on public health emergencies.

Printable News Articles and Worksheet for Summaries and Analysis:

  1. Contagion in New York City: 1832 / Cholera in the U.S. (grades 5 and up): This article by Sonia Shah for Discourse in Progress shares a short history of an 1800s cholera outbreak in New York City. [PDF] 
  2. 'It Became Part of Life': How Haiti Curbed Cholera / Cholera in Haiti (grades 8 and up): This article from Jacob Kushner and Allison Shelley for The Guardian describes how an earthquake in 2010 led to conditions that facilitated the spread of cholera. It also outlines ways that communities worked together to stop the cholera outbreak. [PDF] 
  3. What We Can Learn from the French About Fighting Lyme Disease / Lyme Disease in France (grades 9 and up): This article and podcast by David Scales for WBUR offers an overview of the French effort to combat Lyme disease and of the systemic advantages countries like France have in combating public health issues. [PDF] 
  4. How Rwanda, Once Torn by Genocide, Became a Global Anti-AIDS Leader / HIV/AIDS in Rwanda (grades 6 and up): This transcript of a short PBS NewsHour segment by Jon Cohen outlines how Rwanda's build one of the most successful anti-AIDS campaigns in Africa. [PDF]
  5. Running an Ebola Clinic in Sierra Leone is all about Containment -- and Chlorine / Ebola in Sierra Leone (grades 5 and up): This short article by Erika Check Hayden for WIRED describes how Doctors Without Borders set up facilities to combat the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone. [PDF] 
  6. How Ebola Found Fertile Ground in Sierra Leone's Chaotic Capital / Ebola in Sierra Leone (grades 8 and up): Article by Amy Maxmen for National Geographic that outlines conditions that led to the spread of Ebola in 2014 and 2015. [PDF] 
  7. Zika's Never-Ending Emergency / Zika in Brazil (grades 9 and up): This article by Poonam Daryani, published in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Magazine, describes the experiences of mothers in Brazil whose children have contracted the Zika virus. [PDF]  
  8. Fight Against Zika Virus Makes Haiti Key Battleground / Zika in Haiti (grades 6 and up): This article by Jamie McGee and Larry McCormack in The Tenneseean describes the causes of the Zika virus, and ways that scientists in Haiti tracked conditions that could support spread of the disease. [PDF] 
  9. As Congo's Globe-Threatening Yellow Fever Epidemic Explodes, People Ask 'Where Is the Vaccine?' / Yellow fever in the Congo (grades 9 and up): This article by Emily Baumgaertner in The Washington Post outlines efforts to prevent the spread of yellow fever in summer 2016. [PDF]
  10. South Africa: TB Community Borrowing a Page from HIV/AIDS / HIV/AIDS in South Africa (grades 8 and up): This article by Jon Cohen for Science magazine describes new methods of preventing the spread of tuberculosis. [PDF]
  11. Fighting Polio Amid the Chaos of Syria's Civil War / Polio in Syria (grades 9 and up) This article by Jason Motlagh for National Geographic magazine describes efforts to prevent the spread of polio in Syria. [PDF] 
  12. An Elusive Threat: Experts Strategize Ways to Modernize Leprosy Detection and Tracking in Brazil  / Leprosy in Brazil (grades 9 and up): This article by Anton Delgado, published on the Pulitzer Center website, describes the steps public health professionals and government officials are taking to combat the spread of leprosy in Brazil. [PDF]

Virtual journalist presentations about public health reporting

Interested in connecting your students directly to a journalist who has reported on public health emergencies? Contact [email protected] to set up a virtual visit with a Pulitzer Center journalist. Some of our grantees who have reported on past epidemics include:

  1. Sonia Shah - Cholera in Haiti and New York City
  2. Rebecca Hersher - Cholera in Haiti
  3. Jacob Kushner and Allison Shelley - Cholera in Haiti
  4. Carl Gierstorfer - Ebola in Liberia
  5. Amy Maxmen - Ebola in the DRC
  6. Seema Yasmin - Ebola in Liberia
  7. Jon Cohen - HIV/AIDS internationally
  8. Anton Delgado - Leprosy in Brazil
  9. David Scales - Lyme disease in France
  10. Esther Ruth Mbabazi - Nodding Syndrome in Uganda
  11. Emily Baumgaertner - Yellow Fever in the DRC
  12. Poonam Daryani - Zika / Congenital Zika Syndrome in Brazil
  13. Mark Johnson - The spread of disease, effects of human to animal contact, and whether scientists can devise algorithms to predict an outbreak

Is there another way we can support you and your students in using journalists to lead discussions about public health? We'd love to brainstorm with you! Reach out to the K-12 outreach team by emailing [email protected].


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