Course Description

IN PERSON: Students will learn about how far we've come since a century ago when scourges like smallpox, typhoid fever, polio and diphtheria were common. Experts will discuss the interventions that made some diseases rare, and made others like Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy and mental illnesses manageable. History will meet modern times, as we delve into new technologies such as molecular genetics and artificial intelligence used in the discovery and development of drugs and medical devices. The course will be led by Carol Hamilton who will interview local experts about the chosen topics, with ample time for questions and discussion. The interview classes will be punctuated by power lectures by Howard Goldsweig, who will discuss the latest medical breakthroughs in treating diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke, and their journeys from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside. Both physician instructors will explain complex topics in a jargon-free and straightforward manner. | Lecture + Q&A, Facilitated discussion.

Max enrollment: 30.

Location: Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W. Cornwallis Rd, Durham NC 27705


Course Schedule 

January 29AIDS: How Science, Activism and Compassion Tamed a Killer. Dr. Carol Hamilton will lead a conversation with Dr. John Hamilton, emeritus Chief of Infectious Diseases at Duke, discussing the unique role of activists in treatment research.

February 5Severe mental Illness: Progress and Challenges. Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Jane Gagliardi, Professor of Psychiatry at Duke, will use Dr. Hamilton’s recently published memoir, Hitchhiking to Madness, to highlight persistent difficulties in caring for people with severe mental illness.

February 12Diabetes, weight loss and cholesterol. Dr. Goldsweig will lead a class lecture demonstrating promising new technologies to manage inter-related metabolic problems.

February 19"High sugar:" Diabetes, from a death sentence to a management challenge. Dr. Hamilton’s conversation with Dr. “Jony” Velez-Rivera, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Duke, will tap into his personal and professional journey with diabetes.

February 26The miracle of vaccines. Dr. Hamilton will invite Dr. Chip Walters, Director, Duke Human Vaccine Institute, to paint a picture of what life was like before childhood vaccines when the specter of smallpox, polio, and diphtheria haunted parents’ dreams, and contrast it with today’s plethora of vaccines and anti-vax crusaders.

March 4The Captain of Death no more: Antibiotics. Dr. Hamilton will ask Dr. Vance Fowler, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Duke, to describe the time before penicillin, when bacterial pneumonia, childbirth fever, and strep infections were common killers, and then explore what a “post-antibiotic” world could look like.

March 11The heart and the head. Dr. Goldsweig will delve into the newest devices and treatments that promise to open clogged arteries and repair damaged nerves.

March 18Epilepsy: Evolution of Societal and Medical Care. Dr. Hamilton will ask Dr. Shahzad Zafar, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Duke, to explore seizure disorders “then and now,” and how stigma compounds the medical consequences of seizures in children.

March 25Correcting Nature’s Errors: Gene therapy & Immunotherapy. Dr. Goldsweig will explain the future of gene editing, CRISPR and other technologies to improve inborn errors.

April 1Oral rehydration solution (ORS): Babies, Cholera and Simple solutions. Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Dennis Clements, Professor of Pediatrics, Duke Global Health Institute, will discuss how cholera, typhoid fever, and other diarrheal illnesses are still top childhood killers, and how ORS saves lives.

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
A Century of Medical Miracles
Classroom - In Person
9:00AM to 10:30AM
Jan 29, 2024 to Apr 01, 2024
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Classroom - In Person  
Course Fees
Section Notes

Recommended reading:
Irwin W. Sherman, "Twelve Diseases that Changed Our World" (9781555814663)
Carol Hamilton, "Hitchhiking to Madness: A Memoir" (9798350910308)

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