Physician and journalist
K. Altman will deliver
this year’s James C.
Hill Memorial Lecture,
Disease of the Century:
Personal Perspective on AIDS, 1981-2015.” It
will be presented on Tuesday, Mar. 17 at 3 p.m.
in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10. Altman will
discuss his decades of reporting on HIV/AIDS,
beginning with the 1981 appearance of the
first U.S. cases of illness caused by the thenunknown
Altman is a medical writer for the New York
Times, where from 1969 to 2008 he was one
of the few physicians employed full-time for
a daily newspaper. He continues to report on
a variety of medical topics for the paper. He
also writes “The Doctor’s World,” a column that
appears in the science section of the newspaper.
He is a clinical professor of medicine at New
York University and senior scholar at the Woodrow
Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., where
he is writing a book on the health of political
leaders. Altman authored Who Goes First? The
Story of Self-Experimentation in Medicine. He
also has written for scholarly publications on
subjects such as viral encephalitis and canine
cadaver blood. He holds medical licenses in California,
New York and Washington state.
Altman wrote the Times’ first article on HIV/
AIDS, “Rare cancer seen in 41 homosexuals,”
published on July 3, 1981. The article describes
an outbreak of “…41 cases of a rare and
often rapidly fatal form of cancer”—its cause
unknown. After years of writing numerous
articles on HIV/AIDS, he wrote, “30 Years In,
We Are Still Learning from AIDS” for the Times.
That article looks back on the earliest cases of
AIDS, the medical community’s reaction and
response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, its social
implications and the scientific, medical and
public health challenges that remain.
The annual Hill lecture is dedicated to the former
NIAID deputy director. Hill helped build the
institute’s HIV/AIDS research program during
the early years of the epidemic and was instrumental
in educating the public and government
officials on the emerging threat of AIDS.