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Physician, Scholar, Activist Vanessa Northington Gamble to Speak March 31


Vanessa Northington Gamble, an internationally recognized expert on the history of American medicine; racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care; public health ethics; and bioethics, will speak at Old Dominion University on March 31.

Gamble is University Professor of Medical Humanities at The George Washington University. She will deliver two seminars at ODU as part of the annual Daniel E. and Helen N. Sonenshine Endowed Lecture Series in Infectious Diseases:

  • "Exposing Pre-Existing Social Conditions: African Americans, the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, and COVID-19," 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. in the CAVE Auditorium, Engineering and Computational Sciences Room 1202.
  • "A Pioneer of Racial Justice and Medicine: The Life and Career of Dr. Virginia M. Alexander," 7:30 p.m. in the Planetarium, New Chemistry building. Alexander (1899-1949) was a Black physician and public health researcher whose work uncovered shocking disparities in health outcomes among Black and white residents of North Philadelphia.

At George Washington, Gamble is also a professor of health policy and American studies. A physician, scholar, and activist, she has written several widely acclaimed publications on the history of race and racism in American medicine and bioethics.

Public service has been a hallmark of her career. She has served on many boards and chaired the committee that took the lead role in the successful campaign to obtain an apology in 1997 from President Clinton for the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Hastings Center.

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