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Sharing Women Healers' Stories

Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In conjunction with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), Assistant Professor of English Sarah Berry has created a six-hour course for college instructors as part of the library's "Changing Faces of Medicine" exhibit. Using the higher education learning model, Berry adapted her semester-long course "Nineteenth-Century Women Healers and American Literature" into an abbreviated, six module class.

The "Changing Faces of Medicine" exhibition honors the lives and achievements of women in medicine - including those who have worked to develop innovative procedures and those who have played a large part in furthering the culture of medicine.

"I am honored to be included amongst the other scholars asked to contribute course modules," says Berry. "It is wonderful to be able to share the lives of these women - and to help women get credit for what they do on a daily basis."

Berry's course, "A Medicine of Their Own: The Stories of American Women Healers," seeks to help those who teach women's history and literature, African American history, gender studies, and the general history and literature of the United States during the 19th century. Those instructing medical humanities will also benefit from the course - especially those with courses specifically geared toward medicine in literature and medical history. The course is open access and available to any higher education instructor interested.

Although the online course is similar to her more intensive class at the Colleges, Berry brought in more information regarding midwives, and compiled a rich collection of photos.

Berry has also been invited to present a talk in March as part of the NLM History of Medicine Division's monthly lecture series. Each March, the organization celebrates Women's History Month; Berry will serve as NLM's speaker for 2013.

In her lecture, Berry will address the research her class published with NLM in the spring of 2012 on Dr. Sarah Loguen Fraser, one of first African-American women to earn a medical degree, as well as work she conducted with the NLM databases as part of the "Changing Face of Medicine" exhibit. She also hopes to discuss the importance of continuing to recover women's and African Americans' contributions to medicine and health.

The module will be available before the end of the year on NLM's site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/exhibition/.   

 


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