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A silent epidemic of chronic illnesses afflicts tens of millions of Americans: These are diseases that are poorly understood, frequently marginalized, and can go undiagnosed and unrecognized altogether. In her latest book – The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness – renowned writer Meghan O’Rourke delivers a revelatory investigation into this elusive category of “invisible” illness that encompasses autoimmune diseases, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, and now long COVID, synthesizing the personal and the universal to help all of us through this new frontier.
O’Rourke is joined by ISB President Dr. Jim Heath, who has deeply studied long COVID and its similarities to other chronic illnesses, to discuss chronic diseases, how they’ve traditionally been understood and treated, and what the future holds.
Meghan O’Rourke is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness and The Long Goodbye, as well as the poetry collections Sun In Days, Once, and Halflife. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, and more. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, and a Whiting Nonfiction Award, she resides in New Haven where she teaches at Yale University and is the editor of The Yale Review.
Dr. Jim Heath is President and Professor at Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. Heath also has the position of Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA. Formerly, he directed the National Cancer Institute-funded NSB Cancer Center, was the Elizabeth W. Gilloon Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, and served as co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at UCLA until 2017.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and the Institute of Systems Biology.