The utility of radiation is vast and complex as it can be used for cancer treatment, medical diagnostic tests, environmental sustainability, and space exploration; however, at the same time, large-scale radiation events such as the Chernobyl explosion, a disaster that affected more than 3.5 million people, can induce public anxiety and result in adverse health effects such as certain cancers and acute radiation syndrome. This initial overview of radiation effects discusses not only the health effects of radiation but also the cultural, social, and political effects that radiation exposure and disasters can have on the public. Under the guidance of Dr. Armin Weinberg, I was able to contact ten interviewees knowledgeable about radiation effects. Through these interviews, I was able to gain a more comprehensive overview of the effects of radiation as well as its utility outside of a medicinal context.
A series of interviews within the "Perspectives of Medical Professionals" page discusses the risks of radiation therapy and diagnostic tools while still acknowledging their importance for the detection and treatment of certain diseases and cancers. Many interviewees use their professional experiences and international excursions to further elaborate on the differences between the U.S. healthcare system and foreign health care systems. A range of topics are covered within these interviews from the nature of diagnostic radiology in Kazakhstan to the nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands.
Found within the "Perspectives of Health Professionals" page are the perspectives of a radiation safety officer and health administer. Both individuals discuss the regulations and precautions associated with radiation equipment and diagnostic technology.
The last page, "An International Perspective" covers the journey of two immigrants to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union and their unique perspectives on the state of the public after the Chernobyl disaster. This page also features the insight of an individual who works in news media and his personal experiences traveling to Chernobyl following the nuclear disaster.
Special thanks to Dr. Armin Weinberg, who was able to connect me with the interviewees and the TMC McGovern Archives. Without his support and mentorship, the collection would not have come together.
Special thanks to Dr. Melissa Bailar for her continued feedback throughout the project, instructing this wonderful MDHM 430 practicum, and helping me find such a meaningful project!