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David Oshinsky to Join Bill Gates for Conversation on Polio Eradication

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posted: Wednesday January 26, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas at Austin History Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Oshinsky will join Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other global leaders to discuss "Polio Eradication and the Power of Vaccines." The discussion will air at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31 on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website.

The panel discussion will coincide with the release of Gates' third annual letter, which will highlight his personal commitment to the global eradication of polio.

Oshinsky won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in history for his book, "Polio: An American Story," which chronicles the disease’s impact on American life and the efforts by scientists and doctors to create a successful vaccine. He holds the Jack S. Blanton, Sr. Chair in History and is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin.

Each year, Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. chairman and philanthropist, releases a letter in which he writes about his work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and shares what the foundation is learning along with its partners and grantees. To mark this year's letter, the foundation has organized a conversation about the extraordinary progress in the fight to eradicate polio and the enormous lifesaving potential of vaccines. Polio has been reduced by 99 percent and scientists are on the cusp of eradicating only the second disease in history, presenting a powerful case for the value of vaccines.

The discussion will take place in New York City and will be moderated by ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer. In addition to Gates and Oshinsky, other panelists include Helen Rees, chair of the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, and Dr. Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

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