On Tour: Lancaster, PA

9 Feb

February 7, 2017 | HILLEMAN: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children | Lancaster, PA

The crowd at Millersville University’s Ware Center tonight represents much of the diversity that Lancaster, PA has to offer: students, faculty, physicians, nurses, artists, scientists, even family (both my own and, believe it or not, several of Maurice Hilleman’s as well!), all curious to know more about the man and his work, many willing to share their observations and anecdotes.

One healthcare professional noted that in the context of today’s celebrity-driven American culture, she was struck by Hilleman’s integrity and focus on others.  If there’s one thing that stands out about the man, it’s that the career he chose was one of not only great personal and professional risk, but of societal risk as well — human lives were always at stake, and not just any lives; young lives, children.

In response to the question of whether Hilleman may have lost sleep over the life-and-death environment he inhabited day in and day out, his sister-in-law (who honored the event with her presence) revealed that it wasn’t likely, given that he rarely slept more than 4 hours a night anyway, due to his unstoppable work ethic.

Dr. Alan Peterson (one of our distinguished panelists along with Dr. George McSherry, and Dr. Mary Lou Mortimer) noted that the Lancaster region has a rich history in vaccine development dating back to the 1882 establishment of The Lancaster County Vaccine Farms in Marietta, PA.  Early smallpox vaccine was produced there and known for its excellence and quality.  The facility remained in production for many years, eventually being purchased by the pharmaceutical firm of Wyeth in the 20th century and continues today to function as a vaccine formulation and packaging facility for GlaxoSmithKline, Inc.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker, Donald Mitchell

 

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