Keynote Speaker

Dr. Samuel Kelton Roberts, Jr., is Director of Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), Associate Professor of History (School of Arts & Sciences) and Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Mailman School of Public Health). He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on African-American history, medical and public health history, urban history, issues of policing and criminal justice, and the history of social movements. His book, Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation (UNC Press, 2009), demonstrates the historical and continuing links between legal and de facto segregation and poor health outcomes. In 2013-14, Dr. Roberts served as the Policy Director of Columbia University’s Justice Initiative, where he coordinated the efforts of several partners to bring attention to the issue of aging and the growing incarcerated elderly population. This work led to the publication of the widely-read landmark report, Aging in Prison Reducing Elder Incarceration and Promoting Public Safety (New York: Columbia University Center for Justice. November 2015.

Dr. Roberts currently is researching a book project on the history of drug addiction policy and politics from the 1950s to the present, a period which encompasses the various heroin epidemics between the 1950s and the 1980s, therapeutic communities, radical recovery movements, methadone maintenance treatment, and harm reduction approaches.


Ayah Nuriddin is a PhD student in the Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. She holds a BA in International Studies (International Peace and Conflict Resolution) and History from American University, and received a dual Masters in History and Library Science from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014. She is interested in the ways in which African Americans use medicine and science to do the work of racial activism in the 20th century. Her dissertation project will examine how African Americans developed and mobilized eugenic discourse within the context of racial uplift ideology.

Shelby Pumphrey is a dual doctoral student in the African American and African Studies Program and the Department of History at Michigan State University. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Pan-African Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and English in 2012, Shelby completed a Master of Arts also in Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville in 2014. Her dissertation project explores Central State Asylum for the Colored Insane, the first mental hospital for African Americans in the United States.

Ezelle Sanford III is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University’s Program in the History of Science. Working at the intersection of history, black studies, and anthropology, he studies race, medicine, and public health from the 19th century to the present. Specifically, his research interests trace the role of black medical professionals, the institution of the black hospital, contemporary health policy, and health activism. His dissertation project, “A Source of Pride, A Vision of Progress” proposes to uncover the complex inter- and intra-racial social relationships within and surrounding the Homer G. Phillips hospital of St. Louis, MO, while providing new insights for writing institutional history.

Carlos Martinez, MPH is a student in the Joint UCSF/UC Berkeley Medical Anthropology PhD program. Carlos’ research seeks to analyze how marginalized communities are impacted by politically-structured health inequities and the ways that social movements and state programs have sought to resist or attenuate these impacts. He is co-author of Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots, published by PM Press.

Elizabeth O’Brien is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at UT Austin. Her dissertation examines the history of obstetrical violence and medical culture in Mexico between 1800 and 1940. O’Brien’s research has been supported by grants from Fulbright, The National Science Foundation, the Foreign Language and Area Studies program, and the Tinker Foundation. She holds an MA in Latin American Studies from UT Austin and a BA in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.

Lydia Crafts is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Illinois, Urbana­-Champaign. Her dissertation research examines medical ethics and law in the context of the U.S. experiments with sexually­transmitted infections (STIs) in the 1940s, eugenics, constructions of masculinity in the U.S. and Guatemalan militaries and U.S. foreign relations. She received her Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012, where Lydia served as a Human Rights Scholar at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. Before entering graduate school, Lydia worked at the Texas After Violence Project, a non­profit organization that conducts qualitative research on the effects of the death penalty and the criminal justice system on communities in Texas. She also previously worked as a journalist for public radio.

Eyal Weinberg is a PhD candidate in the department of history at the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation interweaves histories of medicine, public health, the Cold War, and transitional justice to explore the complex relationships between the medical community and the authoritarian government during the Brazilian military rule (1964­1985). His research has been supported by the history department, the Brazilian Center, and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT, as well as the Tinker foundation. Weinberg earned a Master’s degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA from Tel Aviv University.

Alicia Agnoli, MD MPH, is a family physician and health services researcher with the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. Her research looks at ways of improving systems of primary care to address social determinants of health and unmet community needs. She seeks to improve access to high-quality primary care, including treatment for substance use disorders and transitional care for vulnerable individuals.

Courtney McMickens, MD, MPH, earned her undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School where she also received an MPH from the School of Public Health. She completed residency in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a Child Psychiatry fellowship at Cambridge Health Alliance. Dr. McMickens is interested in child mental health services and prevention, trauma, PTSD, and health disparities.

Natasha Ray, MS, Core Services Manager, Healthy Start, is the Chair of the Steering Committee for the Center for Research Engagement at Yale School of Medicine and has been working in the New Haven community for the past two decades addressing racial and ethnic health disparities. Natasha was responsible for developing relationships between New Haven’s community residents, medical providers, and community based organizations to establish a Maternal and Child Health Consortium with the goal of creating a collective community driven approach to reducing the infant mortality rates in New Haven’s communities. As the Core Services Manager at Health Start, Natasha is now responsible for examining and assessing how families are navigated through medical and social service systems to identify gaps, barriers, and accessibility to care; to implement evidence-based practices across systems; and create policy change. For the past 10 years, she has worked closely with the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale School of Medicine on multiple Community based participatory research projects. She has served as a connector to the community for the program, as a co-researcher and in an advisory capacity. In 2014, she was a recipient of the Yale University Seton Elm-Ivy Award for her Community/Academic work.

Barbara Tinney, MSW, Executive Director, New Haven Family Alliance, is an adjunct faculty member in the Southern Connecticut State University, Department of Social Work. Her concern about quality of life issues for New Haven’s children and families prompted her return to the public sector in 1993. Her service to the New Haven community has been recognized by a number of organizations including The State of Connecticut General Assembly, The City of New Haven’s Aldermanic Board, New Haven Chapter of the NAACP, The Greater New Haven Business and Professional Association, Aids Interfaith, The Elm City Clubs of the Nation Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Chi Omicron Chapter, The Help Alliance and the Perfect Blend. Ms. Tinney is a co-author on several published articles including “Teaching community-based participatory research principles to physicians enrolled in a health services research fellowship,” Academic Medicine, 2009, and “Putting the Community into Community-Based Participatory Research,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2009.

Eric Herschthal, a PhD candidate in history at Columbia University, researches the role scientists played in the early antislavery movement. His project demonstrates how, between 1770 and 1830, scientists in the United States and Britain repeatedly argued that scientific and technological solutions would help solve the problem of slavery, creating a false narrative of slavery’s incompatibility with modernity that persists to this day. His research has appeared in the Journal of the Early Republic and Early American Studies, and has written for mainstream publications, including The New York Times, Slate, and The Atlantic Monthly.

Kerri J. Malloy (Yurok/Karuk) is a Lecturer in the Department of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University where he teaches in the Law and Government pathway of the degree program. He received his Masters of Jurisprudence in Indian Law from The University of Tulsa College of Law. Throughout his teaching and research, he interweaves comparative genocide analysis and is currently engaged in the development of a digital archive that documents the acts of genocide and mass killing in northwestern California.

Myrna Perez Sheldon is Assistant Professor of Gender and American Religion at Ohio University, jointly appointed in Classics & World Religions, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies. She previously held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice University and received her doctorate in the History of Science from Harvard University. Her research centers on the intersections between evolutionary theory, Christianity, race, gender and sexuality in American cultural history.

Amy Sprowles received her B.A. in Biology from Clark University and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Vanderbilt University. A cell biologist with a broad molecular background, she is currently an Assistant Professor of Cellular and Developmental Biology at Humboldt State University. Her focus is on training students in STEM through interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum. As co-Principle Investigator of the HSU CIRM Bridges Program, she prepares HSU students interested in pursuing careers in regenerative medicine. As co-Principle Investigator of the HSU STEM Collaboratives Program, she has worked to design and implement a place-based learning community for first year students. Both projects have required extensive collaborations with HSU faculty, staff, and administration, as well as diverse community partners that include the Humboldt Medical Community, Native American Tribes, non-profit organizations, UC Davis, UCSF and Stanford University.

Panel Discussants

Naomi Rogers is Professor of the History of Medicine in the Section of the History of Medicine and the Program in the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University where she regularly teaches undergraduates, graduate students, and medical students. Her historical interests include health activism; gender and health; disease and public health; disability; and alternative medicine/CAM. Her books include Dirt and Disease: Polio Before FDR (Rutgers, 1992), An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia (Rutgers, 1998) and Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine (Oxford, 2014). Her current book project examines critics of medical orthodoxy since 1945 (Health Activism and the Humanization of American Medicine, under contract with Oxford). She has taught at Yale since the mid-1990s and has courtesy appointments in the History Department and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

Joanna Radin is Assistant Professor of History of Medicine at Yale where she is also a member of the Program in History of Science and Medicine and the Departments of History and of Anthropology. At Yale her teaching and research have focused on critical histories of biology, medicine, and technology. She is the author of Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood (out in March with University of Chicago Press), which examines Cold War scientists’ efforts to collect and freeze blood from members of indigenous communities as a biomedical resource. With Emma Kowal, she is editor of Cryopolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World (also out in March with MIT University Press), which addresses the politics of low temperature since the nineteenth century.

Sakena Abedin, M.D. Ph.D. is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and a Lecturer in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine at Yale.  Her historical research focuses on medicine’s encounters with the social world and the various ways in which ‘social’ problems become medicalized in clinical research and practice.  She is working on a project, based on her dissertation, about the history of clinical and social science research on patient behavior, specifically patients’ compliance with their doctor’s advice.  Her teaching interests include the history of healthcare for underserved populations and the history of racial disparities in health in the United States.

Dr. J. Corey Williams studied Kinesiological Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park with a concentration on physical culture studies as an undergraduate. He went on to teach middle school science in Washington, DC while completing a Masters in the Arts of Teaching at American University. He then completed his medical training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Williams is currently a resident physician at Yale University Department of Psychiatry. His interests, research, and writing are focused on racial and gender identity development, disruptive behaviors in children, and academic curriculum design.

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