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Leonard highlights AIC's Tutu health lecture

SPRINGFIELD — Noted epidemiologist Dr. Leonard J. Morse will be the keynote speaker at the Desmond Tutu Public Health Lecture Series at American International College (AIC). The event, which is open to the public, is free of charge and will take place April 13 at 10 a.m. in the Griswold Theatre. The Desmond Tutu Public Health Lecture Series is an ongoing series of visiting speakers focusing on healthcare issues relevant to the local community and the world at large. The series is a partnership between AIC and the Medical Knowledge Institute. Morse, a graduate of AIC, served as public health commiss-ioner of Worcester from 2002 to 2010. He has had a long affiliation with the city's Division of Public Health, going back to 1961. Before becoming public health commissioner, Morse served as a physician consultant and medical epidemiologist, with a special interest in bioterrorism. The talk at AIC will focus on education to address patterns of behavior that promote and preserve one's health. Morse said, "If it is predictable it is preventable. I have selected eight events as examples of my experiences in infectious disease epidemiology. Four instances have resulted in changes in public health guidelines (laws) and all have been published in referred medical journals." Morse has been published in more than 200 professional publications and has written more than 115 editorials and essays. In 1969, Morse led the epidemiologic investigation of the hepatitis A outbreak that hit the College of the Holy Cross football team, forcing it cancel its season after playing just two games. Morse said that was the most notable event of his career. After 9/11, Morse came back from retirement to work on the town's bioterrorism plan at the request of the then city manager. He also served as a president of Worcester District Medical Society and Massachusetts Medical Society in the past. He once served as chief of staff at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. As public health commiss-ioner, Morse was well known for many health initiatives, some relating directly to personal health and others primarily dealing with public health. As a career infectious disease specialist Morse was interested in the impact of Canada geese on Elm Park, a city park of Worcester. Persistent efforts from him and James Gardiner, the previous commiss-ioner of health and human services resulted in maintaining the geese numbers in Worcester at accep-table levels. Probably the most contro-versial decision taken by Morse is the yellow box program, which provides safe receptacles for used syringes and needles. There will be a reception for Morse in the West Wing of the Sprague Cultural Arts Center following his talk. For more information, contact the AIC Office of Public Relations at 205-3231. Bookmark and Share

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