TEWKSBURY — On Aug. 3, 2020, the Tewksbury Public Health Museum announced the launch of The Pandemic Project. The project serves as an interactive timeline tour of the community spread of disease in America, linking to a series of informational articles.
With its release in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the project aims to act as an accessible resource for background information regarding the existence of pandemics in society.
“We envision this timeline as a living history and place where the general public can find information about past public health events,” said Dr. Katherine Domoto, president of the museum, in regards to the project. “There are so many parallels; it’s a way to put the current COVID-19 crisis into context.”
Led by Dr. Louis Fazen, Public Health Museum board member and retired pediatrician, the project was created by a team of both volunteers and healthcare professionals. It aims to provide insight regarding the occurrence and existence of pandemics, as well as their relationship to general public health.
Key questions answered by the project include: “What is public health?” “What is the difference between a pandemic, an epidemic, and an outbreak?” and “What role does public health play in a pandemic?”
Viewers of the project can explore the answers to these questions, as well as several others on the interactive Pandemic Project website.
“Our volunteer authors worked diligently to research more than 300 years of public health history in America,” said Fazen. “Though both professional and public understanding of pandemics and epidemics have evolved significantly over time, we have the unique opportunity to look to the past for lessons on our present crisis."
Designed to appeal to those new to public health content, as well as public health professionals, topics and events covered in the project include tuberculosis, yellow fever, cholera, HIV-AIDS, and more. A companion terminology guide provides helpful links to additional resources.
Outside of the creation of the Pandemic Project, the Public Health Museum works to preserve artifacts and records of our nation’s history in public health and serves as a community resource to educate and promote topical public health initiatives. It is located on the Tewksbury Hospital Campus at 265 East St. in the Old Administration building.