Author Talk: Harriet A. Washington

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Tuesday, Feb 15 at 8pm ET | 5pm PT, PBS Books, in partnership with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), is pleased to host a conversation with scholar and author Harriet A. Washington, discussing African American health and inequities.

As a medical ethicist, Harriet Washington has a unique and courageous voice and deconstructs the politics around medical issues, including ‘scientific racism.’ In this conversation, she will share about the powerful and disturbing portrait of medicine, race, sex, and the abuse of power. Washington also makes the case for broader political consciousness of science and technology, challenging audiences to see the world differently and challenge established paradigms in the history of medicine. Her latest book, Carte Blanche: The Erosion of Medical Consent, documents the alarming tale of how the right of Americans to say “no” to risky medical research is being violated. This program is offered as part of ASALH’s annual conference.

About the Scholar and Author

Harriet A. Washington is a prolific science writer, editor and ethicist who is the author of the seminal Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and the American Library Association Black Caucus Nonfiction Award and five other well-received books, including A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and its Assault on the American Mind, as well as Carte Blanche: The Erosion of Informed Consent in Medical Research, was published in 2021 by Columbia Global Reports.

Washington is a Writing Fellow in Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, has been the 2015-2016 Miriam Shearing Fellow at the University of Nevada’s Black Mountain Institute. She has also been a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, a visiting scholar at DePaul University College of Law and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. She has held fellowships at Stanford University and teaches bioethics at Columbia University, where she delivered the 2020 commencement speech to Columbia’s School of Public Health graduates and won Columbia’s 2020 Mailman School Of Public Health’s Public Health Leadership Award, as well as its 2020-21 Kenneth and Mamie Clark Distinguished Lecture Award. Washington has written widely for popular publications and has been published in referenced books and journals such as Nature, JAMA, The American Journal of Public Health, The New England Journal of Medicine, the Harvard Public Health Review, Isis, and The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. She has been Editor of the Harvard Journal of Minority Public Health, a guest Editor of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics and served as a reviewer for the Journal of the American Association of Bioethics and the Humanities.

Ms. Washington has also worked as a classical-music announcer for public radio and curates a medical-film series.


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