For Polio Awareness Month, the Rotary Club of Oshkosh teamed up with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing to display an iron lung in the Clow Hall atrium the week of Oct. 26.
Sponsored by the Eta Pi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, the exhibit is just one example of the Rotary Club’s efforts to draw attention to the ongoing goal of reaching 100% polio eradication.
Susan Panek, chair of the Oshkosh Rotary Club’s public image committee, said the iron lung is a very visible way of engaging people in a conversation that brings attention to the fact that polio still exists today.
“The College of Nursing at UW Oshkosh was a natural fit and they are so open to partnering with organizations in the community,” Panek said. “Because polio was prevalent so long ago in the U.S., many people may have forgotten what it was, how it affected those who contracted the virus and what treatments were available at the time. As we are living through our own COVID-19 pandemic, we thought this would be a good teachable moment about how outbreaks have been managed.”
The exhibit also featured a poster display containing information about the history of polio and the iron lung, as well as information on the Rotary International’s story and mission.