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Byrne Edits, Designs Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Plagues and Pandemics

Professor Joe Byrne of Belmont’s Honors Program designed and edited The Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Plagues and Pandemics (2008 Greenwood Press), a two-volume, 850-page, interdisciplinary reference work. Byrne was aided by an editorial board consisting of top scholars and librarians in medical history from Yale, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Indiana University, as well as the former historian of the U.S. Public Health Service, Dr. John Parascandola. Byrne authored 19 of the nearly 300 entries, on subjects including “War, the Military and Epidemic Disease,” “Societal Reactions to Leprosy” and “Measles in the Colonial Americas.” The vast majority of articles, however, were contributed by 100 scholars and professional health practitioners from a dozen countries. Three of these are Belmont faculty: Devon Boan, director of the Honors Program, who wrote on epidemic disease in literature and culture; entomologist Steve Murphree, who covered insects and pesticides; and physiologist Nick Ragsdale, who penned the article on dysentery. Recent Belmont graduates Sarah Bennett and Becky and Beth Repasky also contributed editorially, and Honors student Elizabeth Schriner generated electronic source material for the volumes. This project follows Byrne’s two volumes on medieval plague, also for Greenwood, The Black Death (2004) and Daily Life during the Black Death (2006). Byrne is currently preparing a single-volume, single author Encyclopedia of the Black Death for ABC-CLIO, which is scheduled to appear in 2011.