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APRIL 21, 2009
  From The Female Pill to Gardasil: How Women Gathered and Dispensed Medical Knowledge
   Fourth Annual History of Women’s Health Conference Brings Women’s Health Scholars to Pennsylvania Hospital
   

Download the agenda PDF

PHILADELPHIA – This fourth annual event examines key issues in the history of women’s health- from ‘Female Pills’ used to combat “hysteria, stomach and period problems” in 18th century England to the invention of The Pill in 1960 by John Rock, MD. Women’s health scholars will discuss Dr. Rock’s role as the founder of reproductive medicine, examine miscarriage in late 18th and early 19th century America, and moral and political debate around the use of and funding for Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine and more.  The conference is sponsored by the Professional Staff of the Pennsylvania Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections, and the OB/GYN Department of the Pennsylvania Hospital. 

Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first, has a long and distinguished history of caring for women. Obstetrics was the hospital’s first recognized physician specialty upon the establishment of its Lying-In department in 1803. The hospital remains devoted to the care and treatment of women today, with particular expertise in areas such as high-risk maternal and fetal services and neonatology. Pennsylvania Hospital is the site of over 5,000 births per year, the most in Philadelphia.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
7:30 am to 3 pm
WHERE: Pennsylvania Hospital, Zubrow Auditorium
800 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA
Directions and Parking Information

WHO & WHAT:

HIGHLIGHTED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

A complete agenda follows below.

  • Wanda Ronner, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a gynecologist at Pennsylvania Hospital.  She also serves as the Medical Student Director for the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Margaret Marsh, PhD, Distinguished Professor of History and Interim Chancellor at Rutgers University's Camden campus. Drs. Marsh and Ronner will speak about their newest book, The Fertility Doctor: John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution (Johns Hopkins University Press).
    • Dr. Rock was one of the inventors of the birth control pill and the first to perform in vitro fertilization in humans. Sisters Dr. Ronner and Dr. Marsh were given unprecedented access to Dr. Rock’s files by his family.
    • Says the New England Journal of Medicine, “Rock contributed to the sexual revolution and to the liberation of women. This book will hold an important place in the archives of reproductive medicine. Rock is recognized scientifically and is looked upon as one of the greatest role models of the 20th century.”
  • Rachel Elder, Graduate Student, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania: Between Women and Their Doctors: “Female Pills” in Victorian and Edwardian England.
      • John Hooper, an apothecary in Reading, England, patented ‘Female Pills’ in 1743 promoted as anti-hysteria pills, they were also used for stomach and period problems.
      • It was also suggested that pregnant women should not take them, which inevitably led to the pills being used in the hope of ending an inconvenient pregnancy. The pills were still being sold both in England and the United States well into the twentieth century.
  • Christina Hanganu-Bresch, PhD, Visiting Professor, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia: Gardasil, Cervical Cancer and Moral Puritanism.
    • Since its introduction by Merck in 2006, Gardasil has found itself at the center of a controversy which was less about the scientific merits of the vaccine and more about its moral consequences. High incidences of cervical cancer, throughout the 19th century were correlated to women with active sex lives- the un-wed and prostitutes- and low among nuns. Initially little more than speculation, this hypothesis has been found to be true today, setting the scene for political debate and stigma around the use and funding of Gardasil.
  • Marilyn McKinley Parrish, DEd, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist, Millersville University, Carrie Lee Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor, department of Sociology/Anthropology, Millersville University
    • These scholars collaborate to use sociology and common texts from the 19th century to today to help students understand women’s health by exposing them to a variety of perspectives and voices. They state, “the sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals.”

COMPLETE AGENDA:

Keynote address, 7:45 am: 

  • Wanda Ronner, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a gynecologist at Pennsylvania Hospital.  She also serves as the Medical Student Director for the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Margaret Marsh, PhD, Distinguished Professor of History and Interim Chancellor at Rutgers University's Camden campus. Drs. Marsh and Ronner will speak about their newest book, The Fertility Doctor: John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution (Johns Hopkins University Press).

PANEL DISCUSSIONS:

Session One, 8:45 – 10:15 am:

  • Stephanie Patterson Gilbert, MA, American Studies Instructor, Dickinson College:

Domestic Revolutions: Elizabeth Sandwich Drinker and Her Attitudes toward Motherhood in Late 18th Century Philadelphia.

  • Wendy Lucas Castro, PhD, Assistant Professor of History, University of Central Arkansas: Eight Weeks Gone When it Happn’d: Miscarriage in Late 18th Century and Early 19th Century America.

Session Two, 10:30 – 11:45 am:

  • Susan Brandt, RN, FNP, Doctoral Candidate, Temple University: Webs of Kinship, Community, Commerce and Healing: Elizabeth Cates Paschall’s Receipt Book.
  • Martha Yoder, Assistant Professor, Commonwealth Honors College, University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Gender Dimensions of the Illness Narrative in 18th Century America.
  • Janet Dean, Associate Professor, Department of English and Cultural Studies, Bryant University: Mary Lyndon’s Lessons: Prescriptions for Women’s Health in a 19th Century novel.

Session Three, Noon – 1:45 pm:

  • Thomas Lawrence Long, PhD, Professor-in-Residence, University of Connecticut School of Nursing: Gendered Spaces, Gendered Pages: Civil War Women’s Nurse Narratives.
  • Rachel Elder, Graduate Student, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania: Between Women and Their Doctors: “Female Pills” in Victorian and Edwardian England.
  • Libby Mills, MS, RD, LDN, Professor, LaSalle University: Agrarian and Culinarian Women: Nourishment and Need.
  • Christina Hanganu-Bresch, PhD, Visiting Professor, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia: Gardasil, Cervical Cancer and Moral Puritanism.

Luncheon, 1:45- 2:45 pm

Research and Writing about Health: Connecting Students with 19th Century Texts on Women’s Health

  • Marilyn McKinley Parrish, DEd, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist, Millersville University
  • Carrie Lee Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor, department of Sociology/Anthropology, Millersville University

# # #

Nursing contact hours (5.50) will be granted to nurses attending this program in its entirety and submitting an evaluation for the program. Pennsylvania Hospital is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the PA State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on accreditation. There is no conflict of interest on the part of any presenter.  There is no commercial support for this educational offering.

About Pennsylvania Hospital

Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first -- was founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond.  Today, the 515-bed acute care facility offers a full-range of diagnostic and therapeutic medical services and is a major teaching and clinical research institution. The hospital has over 25,000 admissions each year, including over 5,000 births.  With a national reputation in areas such as orthopaedics, cardiac care, vascular surgery, neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology (ENT) and urology as well as obstetrics, high-risk maternal and fetal services, neonatology, and behavioral health, the campus also includes specialty treatment centers such as the Joan Karnell Cancer Center, the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery, the PENN Neurological Institute and the radiosurgical Gamma Knife Center.  Pennsylvania Hospital is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and is located in the historic Society Hill district of Philadelphia.

About Penn Medicine

PENN Medicine is a $3.6 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #4 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's survey of top research-oriented medical schools; and, according to the National Institutes of Health, received over $366 million in NIH grants (excluding contracts) in the 2008 fiscal year. Supporting 1,700 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) includes its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, rated one of the nation’s top ten “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. In addition UPHS includes a primary-care provider network; a faculty practice plan; home care, hospice, and nursing home; three multispecialty satellite facilities; as well as the Penn Medicine Rittenhouse campus, which offers comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation facilities and outpatient services in multiple specialties.

 

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