September 18 – 24 is Banned Books Week, which “celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.” For over 40 years, Banned Books Week has brought people together in “shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”
Banned Books Week is both a reminder of the unifying power of stories and the divisiveness of censorship, and a call to action for readers across the country to push back against censorship attempts in their communities.
Below is a sampling of books available in our library collection that have been challenged or banned in the United States. Click on the book title to be taken to the eBook.
To learn more about books that have been challenged or banned, visit “Frequently Challenged Books” page from the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
As of July 25, 2022 there are 5,189 confirmed cases of monkeypox is the United States. As of July 29, 2022, there are 22,485 confirmed cases of monkeypox globally across 79 countries.
Here are some resources to keep you informed about this outbreak:
Last month’s announcement from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease that it was funding 9 research consortia – called “Antiviral Drug Discovery Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern”, was welcome news. The idea that a concerted effort will be made to create COVID-19 antivirals, as well as ones targeting a range of (viral) families in anticipation of the next outbreak, is inspired. Bringing together academic researchers with pharmaceutical/industrial partners focused on multidisciplinary approaches is a real strength of the envisioned program. Congratulations to Dr. David Perlin (from the Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute’s Center for Discovery and Innovation) and his collaborators for being selected as part of the program’s drug development initiative.
Complementing the power of antivirals and their ability to alter the course of disease and/or reduce and prevent viral spread, are vaccines – designed to prevent infection altogether. The following discussion focuses on steps to accelerate development of just such antiviral vaccines.
Let us be clear – viruses have long been, and will continue to be, a plague on human health and well-being. Whether they be extant (e.g., SARS-CoV2, Ebola, West Nile), newly mutated variants, or recently developed from zoonotic (i.e., animal to human) transmission – infectious viruses will continue to do what they have done for thousands of years – copy and spread their genomes and compromise human health. How do we get out in front of this incoming and indeed ever-present onslaught? The answer is to prepare now.
Dr. Florian Krammer at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai suggests that some 50-100 viruses should be identified and targeted for vaccine development. Choice of which viruses to pursue would be based on infective potential, transmissibility, and accompanying symptoms/pathology. Such a curated list of potentially dangerous pathogens could be informed by recently developed approaches involving machine learning/artificial intelligence. Georgetown University researcher Dr. Colin Carlson and team have been working on just such approaches and have launched VIRION, a database (still in alpha testing) that is designed to help with the curation process. Powerful algorithms coupled with predictive modeling and detailed analytics allow, for the first time, an ability to predictably identify viruses with enhanced potential to infect humans.
Vaccine development in response to the COVID-19 pandemic proceeded at a pace unseen in modern medicine. Vaccine platforms are now in place such that even tighter timelines between virus identification and vaccine production may be realized. But every day – especially early in an outbreak – is critical and could mean the difference between life and death; so how can the program be maximally accelerated? Perhaps, as Dr. Krammer suggests, once viruses (and viral families) are identified, the process of vaccine development could commence. Not waiting for an actual viral outbreak across human populations is crucial.
mRNA-based vaccine development, which worked so well in the context of SARS-CoV2, could once again be brought to bear. Moderna’s mRNA Access program would be particularly helpful here – assisting in the identification of appropriate antigen(s), the design of relevant mRNA coding sequences, and other stability, expression, and production parameters associated with its (mRNA) vaccine platform. Once candidate vaccines were developed and tested pre-clinically, they could be evaluated in FDA-approved phase 1 and 2 (drug) testing protocols. Having the results of such clinical trials would position the vaccines for rapid deployment in phase 3 testing when circumstances warranted. Once it is clear a (related) virus has been identified and an outbreak is imminent, scaled up production, distribution, and inoculation efforts would be rapidly initiated. What might have taken years in the past and took roughly a year for the COVID-19 vaccine, could now be accelerated to, Dr. Krammer predicts, 3-4 months (after identification of the relevant viral strain). The value of such preparedness in terms of reducing and/or eliminating the disease burden is incalculable. There are many hurdles (e.g., regulatory, monetary, coordination) that would need to be overcome to effect such a strategy – but the impact could truly be life-saving on a world-wide scale.
The IHS Library is pleased to congratulate Health Sciences Librarians, Kyle Downey and Peggy Dreker, on recent honors.
Kyle Downey was awarded the “Opportunity Meets Innovation (OMI) Challenge Grant” through Seton Hall University along with co-researchers, Dr. Lauren Snowdon and Dr. Angela Lis of the Physical Therapy program. This grant was designed to create interdisciplinary and collaborative research opportunities among faculty and students from different academic disciplines.
Their project, “Assessing the integration of evidence-based practice skills into clinical practice following curricular redesign” will look directly at outcomes of the embedded library curriculum Kyle has developed with the Dr. Snowdon and Dr. Lis.
Peggy Dreker was awarded “University Libraries Faculty Researcher of the Year” through Seton Hall University. Peggy received this honor at a March 31st Faculty Researcher and Teacher of the Year Awards luncheon presented by the Office of the Provost.
Peggy’s scholarship this past year was robust. She published 5 systematic reviews in scholarly medical journals, two book chapters on systematic review work, and an article on the innovative work done in the SOM’s PPPC curriculum. A listing of her scholarship can be found on her ORCID page.
The IHS Library is pleased to announce the following high-impact journals have been added to our collection:
Annual Reviews Immunology
Blood Cancer Discovery
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
Cancer Immunology Research
Cancer Prevention Research
Clinical Cancer Research
Genes & Development
JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics
JCO Global Oncology
JCO Oncology Practice
JCO Precision Oncology
Journal of Clinical Oncology
Journal of Immunology
Journal of Investigative Dermatology
Molecular Cancer Research
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Nature Biomedical Engineering
Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
Science Translational Medicine
You can access articles from these and thousands of other journals in our collection via the IHS Library website and searching databases such as PubMed and Scopus, or searching for individual journals via the main library search bar. You will then be prompted to enter your Seton Hall University ID and Password. If you do not have your SHU ID/Password, please reach out to the IHS Library at email@example.com.
We also encourage you to install the LibKey Nomad Chrome Extension, which automatically links to full-text content from websites such as PubMed, Wikipedia, Google Scholar and publisher websites. This extension is especially helpful if you find an article while searching outside the IHS Library website.
His work in Haiti began while he was a student at Harvard Medical School:
“Even as Farmer was studying for his medical degree, he essentially lived in Haiti amid extremely low-income farmers who didn’t even have access to dependable electricity, let alone health care. Farmer was determined to change that.” (NPR).
“Here is what I want you to know about Paul Farmer: He simply did not accept the idea that inequality of health-care access is natural or inevitable. Because of his belief, and because of the nonprofit health organization Partners in Health that he co-founded, millions of people in some of the poorest nations on Earth are alive today.”
We have many of his books in our collection, including:
You may also wish to watch Bending the Arc, a documentary (also available on Netflix) “the story of Partners In Health’s origins and how founders influenced international movements at the center of some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises”.
If you are interested in reading one of his books for an upcoming IHS Library Book Club, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an annual celebration of people with disabilities.
This years’ theme is ‘Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era’ to recognize people with disabilities were some of the most impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. The International Day of People with Disabilities website calls on “domestic and international public health officials, political representatives, advocates, supporters, and every citizen in every community, to learn from the experiences of people living with disabilities during this pandemic, and push for more meaningful investments into the socioeconomic building blocks which will reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities in every community on earth.”
Below, we highlight just a few voices of people with disabilities. Click on the links to be taken to the ebook.
A beautifully bound medical text containing the research of the pioneering 19th century physicians Drs Corvisart and Auenbrűgger was recently donated to Special Collections at Walsh Library by Anthony Valerio, a writer who used it in the research for one of his novels. One of the authors, Dr. Corvisart, was Napoleon I’s private physician. Instead of joining Napoleon I’s campaign to Italy, he stayed behind and translated his predecessor Auenbrűgger’s writings from Latin to French. Auenbrűgger developed the percussive technique of physical examination, which led to the invention of the stethoscope. His father was a merchant, and young Auenbrűgger played with his father’s wine barrels as a boy, which made different sounds according to how he drummed them, inspiring his later discovery. These works – and the stories behind them – inspired Valerio to write a novel depicting a similar medical breakthrough.
Valerio’s novel tells the story of the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmesweis, who did groundbreaking work in obstetrics. In Valerio’s words, “The field of obstetrics, then, was relatively new. In Vienna’s medical school, which Semmelweis attended, it was an elective of a few months. Dr. Skoda, a famed diagnostician and internist, was Semmelweis’s mentor and teacher. Skoda taught Corvisart’s work on the heart. Upon obtaining his medical degree, Semmelweis sought a job with Skoda but one was not open. Semmelweis then trained with famed surgeon Dr. Karl von Rokitansky, who performed all autopsies in the hospital. Semmelweis obtained a degree in surgery and sought a job with Rokindansky. Again, one was not open. But an assistant’s job did open in a relatively new field, obstetrics. Semmelweis took this job at a time when childbed fever was the scourge of Europe, the pandemic of his time, women dying of this terrible disease at alarming rates. Theories were advanced as to its cause and means of prevention. Semmelweis rejected them all. He was determined to find those causes and means of prevention—which journey I attempted to describe in detail in my book. Semmelweis did not know what he was looking for. His approach included his studies of Corvisart on the heart, Skoda’s work on palpitation, Auenbrűgger’s work on the varied sounding of the human body with a stethoscope. Semmelweis read and researched after his daily tour of rounds, in his small room in the Vienna hospital.”
This medical text and the literary novel it inspired demonstrate that literature can evolve from science, just as scientific advances can be derived from childhood games. Insight and inspiration know no disciplinary boundaries.
To see this book in person, or investigate other Special Collections materials, our Research Appointments page has details on how to proceed.