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Disease clusters: What are they and what do they mean for small towns?

Aerial shot of the town of Clyde, Ohio
cyldeohio.org
image credit: cyldeohio.org

Dr. Laura Hart's new book, Risk and Adaptation in a Cancer-Cluster Town, examines the effects of a disease cluster in the small town of Clyde, Ohio.

Our weekly program, Missouri State Journal, is a collaboration between KSMU Radio and Missouri State University. It's hosted and produced by MSU's Office of Strategic Communication, and it airs each Tuesday morning at 9:45 a.m. on KSMU. 

Movies like "Oppenheimer" remind us of the link between environmental contaminants and illness. Nuclear waste from the Manhattan project was disposed across St. Louis, and disease clusters have popped up in the metro area in the 70 years since.

A disease cluster is an unusual aggregation of health events, real or perceived, that are grouped together in time and space and that are reported to a health agency.

Dr. Laura Hart is an assistant professor and program coordinator in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Gerontology at Missouri State University. She has focused her research on health inequality, race/class/gender and environmental justice. She recently published a book, Risk and Adaptation in a Cancer-Cluster Town, where she examines the effects of a disease cluster in the small town of Clyde, Ohio.

Dr. Hart discusses the role of emotion and its relationship to community experiences of social belonging and inequality.

Read the full transcript.

Sofia Perez has worked for Missouri State University since 2022. She’s currently the digital marketing coordinator in the Office of Strategic Communication. She has BS in public relations from Missouri State University and is currently working on her Master of Applied Communication.