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Sept. 4: Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble to Speak at Convocation

Posted: August 15, 2012

Distinguished medical scholar and activist Vanessa Northington Gamble 70F—a member of the first entering class of Hampshire College—is keynote speaker for Convocation 2012.

Convocation will be held Tuesday, September 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the Robert Crown Center, officially opening the academic year. The event is open and all who would like to attend are welcome.

On August 30, the College welcomes 440 new students—368 first years, 54 transfers, and 18 visiting and non-degree students. New student orientation runs from move-in day through September 4. Returning students arrive back on campus on September 3 and classes begin on September 5.

In addition to Vanessa Northington Gamble, President Jonathan Lash, trustee chair Sigmund Roos 73F, Dean of Faculty Eva Rueschmann, and Interim Dean of Students Diana Fernandez will speak at the September 4 Convocation.

Throughout her career, Dr. Gamble has worked to promote equity and justice in American medicine and public health. A physician, scholar, and activist, she is an internationally recognized expert on the history of race and American medicine, racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare, and bioethics.

As a Hampshire College student, in 1972 Gamble read about the United States Public Health Tuskegee Syphilis Study when it first came to light. That study became the topic of her Hampshire Division III (senior) project. Later in her career, Dr. Gamble chaired the committee that took the lead role in a successful campaign to obtain a governmental apology in 1997 from then-President Bill Clinton for the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Dr. Gamble is University Professor of Medical Humanities at George Washington University. She is the first woman and African American to hold that prestigious, endowed faculty position. She is also professor of health policy in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences and professor of American studies in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Previously, Dr. Gamble was director of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care.

She is the author of several widely acclaimed publications on the history of race and racism in American medicine, including the award winning Making a Place for Ourselves: The Black Hospital Movement: 1920-1945.

In addition to her B.A. from Hampshire, Dr. Gamble holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.

She is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. The IOM is an honorific organization; election to membership reflects professional achievement and commitment to medical service.

Public service has been a hallmark of Dr. Gamble’s career. She has been appointed to numerous boards and committees, including the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Ethics Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research, Ibis Reproductive Health, National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc., and the Hampshire College Board of Trustees.

Staff trustee and Senior Associate Dean of Students Josiah Litant 00F, student trustee Whitney Klare 10F, and spiritual life director Liza Neal 91F will also participate in the Convocation ceremony.

Following the ceremony an all-community dinner will be held in the area between Cole Science Center and the Lemelson Center.

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