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ODU’s Daniel E. and Helen N. Sonenshine Endowed Lecture Series in Infectious Diseases Returns March 31

By Jonah Grinkewitz

Two upcoming lectures will explore historical issues of social justice in medicine, marking the in-person return of the Daniel E. and Helen N. Sonenshine Lecture Series.

The series is presented by Old Dominion University's College of Sciences and the Department of Biological Sciences and will take place March 31.

Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble, University Professor of Medical Humanities at George Washington University, will present two in-person seminars.

Gamble is also professor of health policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health and professor of American studies at George Washington.

The first lecture, free and open to ODU faculty and students, is called "Exposing Pre-Existing Social Conditions: African Americans, the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, and COVID-19," and will take place from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. at the Engineering & Computational Sciences Building auditorium room 1202.

The second talk, "A Pioneer of Racial Justice and Medicine: The Life and Career of Dr. Virginia M. Alexander," will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Lê Planetarium inside the new Chemistry Building and is free and open to the public.

Gamble will also meet with graduate students between seminars.

Throughout her career, Gamble has promoted equity and justice in medicine and public health. A physician, scholar and activist, Gamble is an internationally recognized expert on the history of American medicine, racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, public health ethics and bioethics. She is the author of several 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 United States Public Health 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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