Skip to Global Health Institute Full Site Menu Skip to main content

Great Influenza Centenary Project Grant Recipients

The Global Health Initiative offers support for all disciplines to reflect on pandemics. Below are examples of past grant recipients.


Remembering the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic at Georgetown: Exhibit at SFS
Emily Mendenhall, Rebecca Katz

The Science, Technology, and International Affairs Program proposes to put together an art exhibit highlighting the impact of the 1918 flu epidemic on Georgetown University. The exhibit will be displayed in the Intercultural Center atrium in April 2018. Three GHI student fellows—Marina Smith, Katelyn Shahbazian, and Jonathan Kluczynski—will conduct archival research at the Georgetown Libraries to capture photos, videos, and written text referring to the impact of the great flu pandemic on the university. The exhibit will accompany an event where the fellows present these works to the larger community.

Lecture by Matthew Heaton on the History of 1918 Influenza in Africa
Kate de Luna, John Kraemer

This proposal supports the travel of Matthew Heaton, a historian of Africa who has written on the history of flu in Africa, as part of a colloquium titled "The Great 1918 Influenza Pandemic, Unraveling its Mysteries with Multidisciplinarity," tentatively scheduled for October 2018. Professor Heaton will contribute to the colloquium by bringing a local focus through case studies from Africa to our understanding of a pandemic that is usually understood at the global scale, or from the perspective of the Global North. Bringing data from the Global South (specifically Africa) will add complexity to our understandings of the causes of the pandemic, its relative impact on different communities, and the strategies local societies developed in the face of the pandemic.

How Historical Analyses on the Great Influenza Informed Preparation for Avian Influenza and the Response to the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic
Mike Stoto, Katie Gottschalk, Bruce Gellin

Amid concerns about the emergence of avian influenza in the 2000s, public health officials reviewed and, in some cases commissioned, historical analyses of the Great Influenza, for instance, The Great Influenza by John Barry (2005). This research, along with historical reviews of other twentieth century pandemics and the 1976 swine flu non-epidemic, was used to inform federal, state, and local preparation for an avian influenza pandemic that was a matter of concern in the 2000s. It was also used to guide the response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which was different in character than either the 1918 pandemic and the avian influenza pandemic that was expected (and is still a threat). This proposal supports a half-day panel discussion regarding 1) the degree to which historical analyses informed—or misled—planning and preparation for avian influenza and the response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; 2) how to conduct historical analyses of epidemiological events to better inform preparedness; and 3) how to communicate with policymakers so that historical analyses can more effectively inform public health preparedness policy.

Lecture by Mark Humphries on Reconsidering Global Geography of 1918 Pandemic
Tim Newfield, John McNeill

The Department of History proposes bringing in a leading historian of the 1918-1919 pandemic, Professor Mark Humphries (University of Wilfred Laurier, Canada), for a lecture open to the Georgetown community. In recent work, Humphries has newly traced the origins and re-drawn the global geography of the pandemic using heterogeneous written sources. Humphries will be introduced by Tim Newfield, who will discuss how historians, how historical epidemiology, can play a vital role in present-day global health initiatives. As our guest speaker will make clear, historians have much to offer global health initiatives. They can, for instance, identify antecedents of modern-day disease emergences as well as historical shifts in the geography of disease. In doing so, historians can provide valuable insight about the human and environmental drivers of emerging disease events.

To learn more about Great Influenza Centenary Project Grants visit the application information page.