Special Collections

The AIDS Quarterly/The Health Quarterly

The AIDS Quarterly/The Health Quarterly special collection includes two nationally distributed news and documentary series produced for public television by WGBH Boston, The AIDS Quarterly and The Health Quarterly, which reported on the AIDS crisis. AIDS, also known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). According to the press release, The AIDS Quarterly intended to “remedy the lack of detailed, current information on the epidemic.” Executive Editor Renata Simone cited the “urgent need for clear and up-to-date information about research developments and treatment, about how the government is responding to AIDS and how ordinary people are coping.”

The AIDS Quarterly, produced 1988–1991, featured eight programs presented in an hour-long magazine format. Hosted by Peter Jennings, the series reported on the deadly AIDS crisis in the United States and internationally. The programs interwove documentary segments, news, interviews, commentary and analysis with personal stories. Key participants included Dr. Anthony Fauci (Former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), Dr. Louis Sullivan (Former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services), Joseph Califano Jr. (Former United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare), as well as patients with AIDS/HIV, family members, doctors, researchers, and scholars.

The Health Quarterly, produced 1991–1993, was presented in a similar magazine-style format. Hosted by Peter Jennings and Roger Mudd, The Health Quarterly consisted of ten programs. The series examined the social, political, and personal impact of America’s healthcare system and explored issues such as the cost of healthcare, the uninsured, and healthcare legislation history. Key interviews included Senator Edward Kennedy, Congressman Henry Waxman, and Health economist Dr. Stuart Altman, among others.