The Lilianna Sauter Lecture - Escaping Melodramas: Historical Thinking and the Public Health Service Studies in Tuskegee and Guatamala
The New York Academy of Medicine

The Lilianna Sauter Lecture
Speaker: Susan M. Reverby, PhD, Wellesley College

The U.S. government has now apologized for Public Health Service studies in both Tuskegee (1932-72) and Guatemala (1946-48). This talk will argue that much of the literature on these studies treats them as object lessons on what not to do, casting the doctors as monsters, and turning the studies into historical relics attributable to "racists" from a distant time and place. Professor Reverby will investigate how we can think of racism, scientific certainty and ethical malfeasance outside a melodramatic framework, if this is even possible.

Susan M. Reverby is Professor of Women's Studies at Wellesley College and a historian of American women, medicine and nursing. She is the editor of numerous volumes on women's history, the history of medicine and the history of nursing. Her prize-winning book, Ordered to Care: The Dilemma of American Nursing (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), is still considered one of the major overview historise of American nursing. She is a former health policy analyst and women's health activist. From 1993-1997 she served as the consumer representative on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Advisory Panel.

For more information about this and other history of medicine programs at the New York Academy of Medicine, visit Historical Collections

You may also call 212-822-7313, contact Christian Warren, PhD at 212-822-7314, or send an email to

Time: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
New York, NY 10029

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