OBOC 2017-18


Each year since 2009, Pitt Public Health invites students, faculty, alumni, and friends to share the experience of reading and discussing our annual selection for the One Book, One Community (OBOC) program. This year's OBOC selection is The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. 

About the Book

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

(Excerpted and condensed from Amazon.com)

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What Should We Read Next?

OBOC book stack

Have ideas for our 10th year?

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Read-Along Program

Alumni, families, and friends are invited to sign up below and read along with the school’s students and faculty by participating in the second read-along program. Read The Emperor of All Maladies and participate in live and virtual events and discussions. Read more...

WHERE TO GET THE BOOK

Get 10 percent off at the University Store on Fifth (with Pitt ID). Pitt’s Hillman Library, Health Science’s Library, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh may also have copies.

Questions?

With questions about OBOC, or to suggest an event, contact Robin Leaf, educational programs and practicum coordinator.

OBOC and Cancer News

Black women turn to midwives to avoid COVID and 'Feel Cared For'  

Black women turn to midwives to avoid COVID and 'Feel Cared For'

MEDSCAPE - From the moment she learned she was pregnant late last year, TaNefer Camara knew she didnt want to have her baby in a hospital bed. Already a mother of three and a part-time lactation consultant at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Camara knew a bit about childbirth. She wanted to deliver at... (02/11/2021)
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Black maternal omnibus package introduced by Democratic lawmakers 

Black maternal omnibus package introduced by Democratic lawmakers

THE HILL - A trio of Black lawmakers on Monday introduced an omnibus bill aimed at combating the significant health inequities that Black mothers face across the country. The Black Maternal Momnibus Act of 2021 follows a nearly identical legislative package that was introduce in the House of March ... (02/10/2021)
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Florida mothers of color, seeking better care, turn to midwives and doulas 

Florida mothers of color, seeking better care, turn to midwives and doulas

TAMPA BAY TIMES - After years of feeling dismissed in hospitals, many Black and Hispanic women are working to find prenatal caregivers who listen to their concerns.  (02/09/2021)
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Mendez explains how recently released health indicators fall along racial lines, again 

Mendez explains how recently released health indicators fall along racial lines, again

WESA - EPI's Dara Mendez, interim director of the Center for Health Equity, explains why recently released health data for Pittsburgh women and children continues to fall along racial lines.  (01/19/2021)
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Gov. Wolf awards Pitt Public Health $2.5M to study health impacts of fracking 

Gov. Wolf awards Pitt Public Health $2.5M to study health impacts of fracking

TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT -  Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has awarded a $2.5 million contract to research the potential health effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state in two epidemiological studies to be conducted over the next two years. EPI's Evelyn Talbott will investigate the relationship between... (12/29/2020)
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How Police Violence Could Impact the Health of Black Infants 

How Police Violence Could Impact the Health of Black Infants

NPR - George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis placed police violence again in the national limelight with protests erupting. But Black and brown communities say the effect of police violence is felt long after demonstrations die down. In fact, research shows trauma from racism and violence can leave ... (11/17/2020)
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The U.S. medical system is still haunted by slavery (video) 

The U.S. medical system is still haunted by slavery (video)

VOX - Black women's history matters in medicine. The U.S. is the most dangerous industrialized country in which to give birth, and racial disparities in maternal mortality make it even worse for women of color. And they're seeking your help in understanding the problem.   (11/17/2020)
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Why are so many Black women still dying in childbirth?  

Why are so many Black women still dying in childbirth?

INDEPENDENT - In the U.K., Black women are five times more likey to die in pregnancy, childbirth, or in the postpartum period, compared to their white counterparts. In the U.S. there are similar racial disparities in its maternal deaths with black and indigenous Americans being two to three times a... (11/12/2020)