a woman gives a child a polio vaccine in front of a cooler that says end polio now

Polio, Disability Activism, and Diplomacy

12:15-1:15 pm EDT



On Wednesday, July 17, in celebration of Disability Pride Month, join us for a discussion on the intersection between polio, disability rights, and diplomacy.

At its peak in 1952, polio was more feared in the United States than nuclear war. The infection often led to paralysis, greatly increasing the number of people in the disability community.

Diplomacy, then and today, helped address this global pandemic. Through diplomacy, American scientist Albert Sabin was able to cross the Iron Curtain to test his oral vaccine for polio. Since then, the State Department and other Foreign Affairs agencies have led numerous campaigns to end polio globally.

In this presentation, Dr. Taylor Livingston, NMAD’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Policy Fellow, will discuss the inception of vaccine diplomacy through the stories of two polio survivors: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Judy Heumann.

The presentation will take place from 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm on Wednesday, July 17.
Following the presentation, guests can view our exhibit featuring objects related to disability pride and polio eradication campaigns until 2:00 pm. The museum’s other exhibits, including Treaties on De-Fences by artist Jorge Otero-Pailos will also be open for viewing.

Please RSVP by July 12.

Arrival Instructions

NMAD is located at 330 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20006, in the Harry S Truman Building. Visitors must enter at the 21st Street entrance to the U.S. Department of State (the glass building on 21st Street between D Street and C Street, NW).

Please arrive by 12:00 pm to allow ample time for security processing. A valid government-issued photo ID is required for entry (e.g. passport, U.S. driver’s license).

For further information or if you require reasonable accommodations to attend the event, please contact Emma Guyette (guyettee@state.gov).

About Dr. Taylor Livingston
Taylor Livingston is NMAD’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow. She is a cultural and medical anthropologist and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a postdoctoral fellow in public health at the University of South Florida. Dr. Livingston’s research examines how social support networks, political frameworks and policies, and current and historical views of the intersection of race, gender, and socioeconomics shape health outcomes. Her research interests include health inequities, implementation science, science communication, global health, and maternal and child health.

a baby in Pakistan receiving a smallpox vaccine


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