The 31st Annual Saward Lecture, Featuring Seema Yasmin, MD

The December 2022 lecture was given by Seema Yasmin, MD. Dr. Yasmin’s talk is titled, “Fighting the Misinfodemic: How to build trust and debunk myths.”

Dr. Seema Yasmin is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, medical doctor, professor, and author. She is director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative, clinical assistant professor in Stanford University’s Department of Medicine, and visiting assistant professor at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA where she teaches crisis management and crisis communications. Dr. Yasmin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news in 2017 with a team from The Dallas Morning News for coverage of a mass shooting. She is the recipient of two awards from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Dr. Yasmin is the author of five books including a poetry collection If God Is A Virus which was voted one of the Best Books of 2021 by The New York Public Library, and Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall for Them, which tells her own history of growing up a conspiracy theorist before becoming a debunker of myths. In Muslim Women Are Everything: Stereotype-Shattering Stories of Courage, Inspiration, and Adventure (Harper Design), published in April 2020, Dr. Yasmin reframes how the world sees Muslim women, to reveal everything they CAN do and the incredible, stereotype-shattering ways they are doing it. Muslim Women Are Everything is a celebration of the ways in which past and present Muslim women from around the world are singing, dancing, reading, writing, laughing, experimenting, driving, and rocking their way into the history books.

Dr. Yasmin is a fiction fellow of the Kundiman and Tin House writing workshops and was named an Emerson Fellow in 2020 for her work tracking the spread of false information. Her writing has earned awards and residencies from the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Mid Atlantic Arts Council, Hedgebrook, and others. Her scholarly work focuses on the spread of health misinformation and disinformation, the growth of health and news deserts, and their impact on public health. She teaches creative nonfiction including health and science journalism, global health storytelling, practicing medicine with empathy and compassion, and advanced clinical communication skills. Her reporting appears in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, WIRED, Scientific American, and other outlets. 

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Photo: Earnie Saward

About the Saward Lecture

The Saward Lecture series is named after Ernie Saward, MD (1914–89), medical director of Kaiser Permanente Northwest from 1948 to 1969. Dr. Saward’s pioneering vision and administrative skill helped to launch the health maintenance organization movement. In the early 1960s, he established the Medical Care Research Unit, which later became the Center for Health Research.

The Center for Health Research presents the Saward Lecture once a year, free of charge to the community. The lecture series is made possible with support from Kaiser Permanente Northwest Community Health.

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