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

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Goldstein among experts wary of EPA rush to revise carcinogen testing 

Goldstein among experts wary of EPA rush to revise carcinogen testing

SCIENCE - The EPA plans to quickly revap its guidelines for evaluating whether environmental contaminants can cause cancer or other ailments, a move Trump administration critics fear is part of a broader effort to weaken the basis for regulating a wide range of pollutants. "The problem is, there's ... (06/04/2019)
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The Death of Evidence(?) Implications for All of Us (video) 

The Death of Evidence(?) Implications for All of Us (video)

Jonathan M. Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, visited Pitt to discuss threats to decision making from powerful stakeholders who undermine scientific evidence by creating doubt. The origins of this “doubt creation” strategy can be traced to actions taken by the tobacco industry an... (02/11/2019)
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Breastfeeding linked to less belly fat and smaller waist size 

Breastfeeding linked to less belly fat and smaller waist size

MEDICALRESEARCH.COM  - Work by Gabrielle Snyder (EPI '15) tests the association between breastfeeding duration and maternal waist circumference while controlling for race, socioeconomic status, and behavioral factors like better diet and more physical activity. The study found that women who breast... (01/04/2019)
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As affordable housing crisis grows, HUD sits on the sidelines 

As affordable housing crisis grows, HUD sits on the sidelines

NEW YORK TIMES - The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need. Ben Carson... (08/06/2018)
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Pittsburgh task force takes on issue of landlords turning away renters with convictions 

Pittsburgh task force takes on issue of landlords turning away renters with convictions

PUBLIC SOURCE - As housing prices and rents rise in the Pittsburgh region, residents with convictions are often denied housing they can afford. Discrimination against people who have been incarcerated or have any marks on their rap sheet is one of several barriers the region’s fair housing task for... (08/06/2018)
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Why Boston Medical Center is investing in housing 

Why Boston Medical Center is investing in housing

WBUR - "It makes me feel comfortable about myself," says Chuck Gyukeri, "that I'm able to come in and out of my own home. And I’m getting my health issues together. "Gyukeri's apartment is in one of four brownstones on Waldeck Street — 35 units that came close to losing their affordable status.  (08/06/2018)
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The state of the nation's housing 2018 

The state of the nation's housing 2018

HOW HOUSING MATTERS - The national homeownership rate rose in 2017 for the first time in 13 years. Other housing trends include enduring constraints on the single-family market, racial disparities in neighborhood poverty levels, lagging household growth, trade-offs between housing, etc.  (08/06/2018)
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Study: 40 percent of Pa. households struggle to make ends meet 

Study: 40 percent of Pa. households struggle to make ends meet

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - According to a United Way study, more than 40 percent of Pennsylvania households can’t afford basic household necessities. While 12.3 percent fit the government’s definition of poverty, an additional 29.4 percent fall into the ALICE category: people who clear the poverty l... (08/06/2018)