50th annual Foard Lecture: The Search for the Virus that Caused the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918

Gina Kolata

Keynote Speaker: Gina Kolata

On Thursday, April 5, 2018, at 6 p.m., Gina Kolata will deliver the 50th annual Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture. The event is the keynote for the School’s “Going Viral” symposium on the 1918 flu pandemic, which will take place April 5-6.

Kolata’s work as a reporter at The New York Times has led her to the Pulitzer twice—for investigative reporting and for explanatory journalism. She has authored several acclaimed and bestselling books, including Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It; Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss—and the Myths and Realities of Dieting; Clone: The Road to Dolly, and the Path Ahead; Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for the Truth About Exercise and Health; and her newest book, Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, a Family’s Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them.

The lecture will conclude with a question-and-answer session, followed by a catered reception and a book signing.

Register online now to reserve a seat!


Cover of Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

Cover of “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It”

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

In 1918 the Great Flu Epidemic killed an estimated 50 million people virtually overnight. If such a plague returned today, taking a comparable percentage of the world’s population, 150 million people would die.

In this best-selling nonfiction account, acclaimed science journalist Gina Kolata unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story.

From Alaska to Norway, from the streets of Hong Kong to the corridors of the White House, Kolata tracks the race to recover the live pathogen and probes the fear that has impelled government policy.

Flu compellingly addresses the prospects for a great epidemic’s recurrence and considers what can be done to prevent it.


For more information, please contact Rachel Makson, assistant campaign director at the Gillings School, at rmakson@email.unc.edu or (919) 966-0219.


About Fred T. Foard Jr., MD (1889-1966)

The Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture was established in 1969 by Elsie D. Foard, to honor her late husband. Dr. Foard’s work in public health spanned more than a half-century, much of it with the U.S. Public Health Service.

Hallmarks of Dr. Foard’s tenure included the development and strengthening of organized public health services in Alaska, Hawaii and the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast regions. His efforts spurred major improvements in health services for Native Americans and the transfer of the Indian Health Program from the U.S. Department of the Interior to the U.S. Public Health Service.

After retiring from the Public Health Service in 1952, Dr. Foard served until 1964 as director of the Division of Epidemiology for the N.C. Board of Health. He received an honorary degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1962.

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