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51% #1598: Exploring The Vaccination Controversy

On this week’s 51%, a College of Medicine department chair takes us into the vaccination controversy and we hear about one woman’s march to activism.

It’s a heated and controversial topic — vaccination. Bernice Hausman does not proclaim which side is right, but investigates the controversy itself, looking into why this debate is so charged, at this time. Through her research, Hausman discovers vaccine skepticism is linked to various beliefs and practices that are typical of American society, and that are sustained by popular suspicions of the government, sponsored scientific research and pharmaceutical companies. Yet our societal narrative has simplified this complex controversy into “the misinformed, irrational, vaccine-fearing parent,” which Hausman believes does a disservice to both a full understanding of the issue, as well as the health of our democratic society. Hausman’s exploration of the topic is the basis of her book “Anti/Vax: Reframing the Vaccination Controversy.” Hausman is chair of the Department of Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine. 

It’s women’s history month and we’re going to return to recent history. Billie Mays is an administrative assistant and single mother from a Trump-supporting family in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2017, somewhat by accident, she led the first women's march in that city. She continued for the march that took place this year as well. WYSO Community Voices Producer Susan Byrnes bring us the story of how that action has led to activism. 

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Tina Renick for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio

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