Beating Back a Curse with Knowledge

Nightingale receiving the Wounded at Scutari, by Jerry Barrett 

In the Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856, according to Wikipedia) more British soldiers died from preventable diseases than of battle wounds. The mortality rate was 42.7%

Florence Nightingale, a highly educated young nurse from a wealthy family, was sent to the front to observe and improve conditions in the military camps and hospitals. Within just a few months, the mortality rate was drastically lowered to 2.7%

According to a 2003 article in the British Medical Journal's publication Quality & Safety, she was a terrific (and underrated) statistician: 
"In her detailed statistical report she said the causes of the Scutari mortality were fivefold: frightful overcrowding, want of ventilation, drainage, cleanliness, and hospital comforts. She quantified and measured these problems and remedies." 
Nightingale was one of the few women I learned about this semester in my epidemiology class (which I loved but totally bombed due to my lack of basic math skills). But her story is great inspiration to try harder & smarter next time. 

I read it and read it and still algebra & statistics frighten me. 

For these last two semesters I've taken 4 public health courses, hoping to remedy my math fear and improve my research skills. Jumping into grad level classes, however, was obviously not the right approach for me. 

Especially when I'd been strenuously ignoring my first love - making media, especially documentaries. I'm very happy to say that  I'm finally on the path back to film & video this fall, when I start as a grad student at American University's School of Communication

I aim to become a social justice documentary filmmaker specializing in health issues. So maybe a career with the CDC isn't in my cards. But perhaps producing their next set of zombie preparedness videos is? 

I'll be retiring this little blog by August as I prepare to relocate. But there's tons to cover before that time comes. 

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