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​Jonas Salk Centenary Symposium on Sustainability: Survival of the Wisest

WHAT: A day-long commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk’s birth, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, the Pitt Office of the Provost and the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation. The Jonas Salk Centenary Symposium brings together academic and business leaders to look at the relationship between sustainability and public health. Session topics will include population health, the nexus between sustainability and a green economy, and sustainable businesses in sustainable communities.
WHO: The symposium will feature multiple speakers, including:

  • Peter L. Salk, M.D., son of Dr. Jonas Salk and scientific director of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Ph.D., director of The Earth Institute and professor of  health policy and management at Columbia University
  • Bernard Goldstein, M.D., former dean and professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health at Pitt Public Health
  • Nicholas Kristof, J.D., Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the New York Times
  • Van Jones, J.D., host of CNN’s Crossfire

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014

WHERE: William Pitt Union Assembly Room, 3959 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15213

WHY: Attendees will discover another side of Dr. Salk beyond his role in developing the polio vaccine, which was declared safe and effective in 1955. Thanks to the vaccine, polio no longer exists in the U.S. and has been nearly eradicated globally. 

In his later writings, Dr. Salk focused on a concept now called sustainability. Dr. Salk always had a strong interest in what he dubbed “the human side of nature.” He wrote several books on the topic, including “The Survival of the Wisest,” published in 1973, in which he argues that mankind’s ability to learn how to act wisely is critically important for improving the quality of human life and for survival on this planet. He also gave talks in which he encouraged listeners to ask themselves not only whether they are being good citizens of the world today, but if they are being good ancestors for the future.

The symposium is open to the public and free; lunch is $15. To register, visit

Note to Media: To cover or preview this event, contact Allison Hydzik at 412-647-9975 or

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