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?

Suggest a book

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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Stacy finds correlation between obesity in mothers, childhood cancer risk in children 

Stacy finds correlation between obesity in mothers, childhood cancer risk in children

SPECIALTY PHARMACY TIMES - A new studying has found a correlation between children born to pre-pregnancy body-mass index (BMI) and the likelihood of developing childhood cancer, even after correcting for known risk factors, such as newborn size and maternal age. "My hope is that this study can be, ... (07/23/2019)
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Housing remains a major social determinant of health 

Housing remains a major social determinant of health

While we are wrapping up our year with Matthew Desmond's Evicted as our One Book, One Community selection, housing remains a major social determinant of health. We don't stop studying, researching, or solving the problems highlighted by past programs. For the latest on housing, check out a recent e... (07/08/2019)
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As Washington Co. parents want deeper look at fracking and cancer, Talbot calls for study of historical pesticide use 

As Washington Co. parents want deeper look at fracking and cancer, Talbot calls for study of historical pesticide use

WESA - Epidemiologists say it is rare to prove an environmental cause for a cancer cluster. EPI's Evelyn Talbot says there's some evidence linking pesticide exposure with Ewing sarcoma and suggests conducting a case control study of historical pesticide use in the areas agricultural fields.  (07/08/2019)
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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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Stephanie Corey analyzes LGBTQ cancer prevention as cancer epidemiology fellow 

Stephanie Corey analyzes LGBTQ cancer prevention as cancer epidemiology fellow

STEPHANIE COREY (EPI '19) was a part of the 2018 cohort of the Cancer Epidemiology Education in Special Populations (CEESP) Fellowship, funded by the National Cancer Institute. Stephanie executed an independent project where she analyzed HPV, cervical cancer, and anal cancer preventive measures amo... (09/24/2018)
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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)