Susan M. Reverby’s research on an immoral government medical study in Guatemala between 1946-48 where men and women were given syphilis led to a U.S. government response from the Secretaries of the Departments of State and Health and Human Services and an apology from President Obama to President Colom of Guatemala. The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, at President Obama's request, is exploring the historical context of the research in Guatemala and current human subject protections. The article was published in the Journal of Policy History in January 2011.
Reverby, “’Normal Exposure,’” pdf
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
American Healthcare History in Gender, Race, and Class Perspective
or Feminist: Women's Movements in U.S. History
222 Women in Contemporary American Society
324 History, Memory, and Women's Lives
Susan M. Reverby is the Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of
Ideas and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Wellesley College and an
historian of American women, medicine and nursing. The first hire at
Wellesley in Women's Studies in 1982, she has taught at the college for
nearly three decades. She is the co-editor of America's Working Women: a Documentary History (1976); Health Care in
America: Essays in Social History (1979); and Gendered Domains: Beyond the
Public and Private in Women's History (1992). She was the editor
of The History of
American Nursing: a 32 Volume Reprint Series (1982-83). Her
prize-winning book, Ordered
to Care: The Dilemma of American Nursing (New York: Cambridge
University Press, l987) is still considered one of the major overview
histories of American nursing.
She has completed two books on what is referred to as the infamous
"Tuskegee" Syphilis study (1932-72), the longest running
non-therapeutic research study in U.S. history that involved the United
States Public Health Service and more than 600 African American men in the
counties surrounding Tuskegee, Alabama. The men thought they were being
"treated," not studied, for what they thought of as "bad
blood." The study has become a central metaphor for distrust of the
health care system and as the key example of unethical research. She was a
member of the Legacy Committee on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study that
successfully lobbied President Bill Clinton to offer a public apology to the
surviving men and their heirs in l997. Her edited book of articles and
primary documents on the study appeared in 2000 (Tuskegee Truths: Rethinking
the Tuskegee Syphilis Study). Her new book, Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous
Syphilis Study and its Legacy came out in 2009. It won the Arthur Viseltear
Prize from the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association
in 2010. Please see the following website for more information: http://www.examiningtuskegee.com.
Susan M. Reverby's scholarship has appeared in a wide range of publications
from scholarly journals to editorials in the popular press. Her work on the
Tuskegee Syphilis Study has appeared in England in both the Times Education Supplement and in the Postgraduate
Medical Journal and in the ethics journal, Hastings Center Report,
in the United States. She has spoken widely in the United States, Australia, Canada,
and Sweden, on the history of gender, ethics and health care issues. She is a
frequent commentator on health, gender and race issues in public forums.
At Wellesley, Susan M. Reverby has taught a wide range of courses from
introductory women's studies to history of American health care. Her other
courses have focused on history/gender and memory, the politics and history
of passing, the politics of identity and women's movements in American
Susan M. Reverby received her BS degree from Cornell University in Industrial
and Labor Relations with a focus on labor and economic history. Her M.A. is
from New York University and her Ph.D. from Boston University in American
Studies. She has worked as a community organizer in New York and as a women's
health activist. She spent three years as a health policy analyst at the
Health Policy Advisory Center in New York in the early l970s, focusing on
women's health and nursing issues. From l993-l997 she served as the consumer
representative on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Obstetrics and
Gynecology Devices Advisory Panel and from 1998 and 2007 served on the Board
of Directors of the ACLU of Massachusetts.
She has also held the Whitehead and Luella LaMer chairs at Wellesley College
and received support for her scholarship from the American Council of Learned
Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American
Association of University Women. She has been a fellow at the
Bunting/Radcliffe Institute and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard twice
Articles published by Susan M. Reverby, available here below in PDF format:
- "The Art of Medicine: Listening to Narratives from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study"
www.Lancet.com, Vol 377, May 14, 2011
- Invoking "Tuskegee": Problems in Health Disparities, Genetic Assumptions, and History
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Vol. 21 (Supplement 2010): 26-34.
- "http://www.huffingtonpost.com./susan-reverby/a-new-lesson-from-the-old_b_378649.html" "A New Lesson from the old 'Tuskegee' Study" Huffington Post, Dec. 4, 2009.
and Contingency: The Medical-Historical World according to Charles E.
Rosenberg" with Nancy Tomes. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2008.
- "Don't Fence
Me In": Connecting Irony to Power in the Scholarship of Charles E.
Rosenberg Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2008.
Treatment: BiDil, Tuskegee, and the Logic of Race," Journal of Law, Medicine and
Ethics 36 (Fall 2008): 478-84. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Fall 2008.
- "Inclusion and Exclusion: The Politics of
History, Difference, and Medical Research" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2007.
Categories in Medical Pratice: How Useful Are They? Plos Medicine, 2007.
- "The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry
Testing" Science, 2007.
Susan E. Bell. "Vaginal
Politics: Tensions and Possibilities in The Vagina Monolgoues," in Women' Studies International Forum, 2005.
- With David Rosner. " 'Beyond The Great Doctors' Revisited" in Locating Medical
History: Stories and their Meanings, ed Frank Huisman
and John Harley Warner, 2004.
Than Fact and Fiction: Cultural Memory and the Tuskegee Syphilis
Study" Hastings Center Report, 2001.
could it happen again?" Postgraduate Medical Journal: The Journal of
Continuing Medical Education, 2001.
Rosanna Hertz. "Gentility, Gender, and Political Protest:
The Barbara Bush Controversy at Wellesley College" in Gender & Society:
Sociologists for Women in Society, 1995.
- "History of an Apology: From Tuskegee to the White House" Research Nurse 3, (July/August 1997): 1-9.