November 08, 2019

“Contagion” film, discussion will provide insight into public health efforts, contagious diseases

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A special event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Nov. 15 will explore the role public health plays in people’s everyday lives.

What affects one person’s health and quality of life may affect other people as well, as the 6 p.m. event at the Student Health Services Auditorium will illustrate.

Movie brings the topic to light

The evening will include several related elements. After a brief introduction by Robert McDermott, chair of SIU’s public health and recreation professions department, the first segment of the box-office thriller/drama “Contagion,” will be shown. The film, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon, is the tale of a woman who travels overseas and becomes ill upon returning home. Medical treatment is ineffective and others soon become sick with similar symptoms as the fatal epidemic spreads. It’s a frightening look at what a virus can do in the world and how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work to address healthcare issues.

Discussion planned

During the movie intermission, Sarah Patrick, a public health and recreation professions assistant professor and epidemiologist, will lead a discussion. Her career has included epidemiology practice in state and local health departments, rural health research and teaching related topics.  

Patrick has served as a state epidemiologist in South Dakota and Missouri, taught in Missouri, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois and served in other roles in the health field. She was also an epidemic intelligence service postdoctoral fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is a co-investigator for a National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse project: “Ending transmission of HIV, HCV and STDs and overdose in rural communities of people who inject drugs.”

All are welcome

Following the conclusion of the movie, there will be a Q&A session to address any audience questions about public health concerns.

Everyone is welcome to attend the program, created to raise awareness and promote and understanding of public health and epidemiology. There is no cost and no pre-registration needed.

To learn more

For additional information about the presentation, contact Danielle Tanner at