Merlin Chowkwanyun, Ph.D., M.P.H., Medical Student and Resident Activism in the 1960s and 1970s

OHSU History of Medicine Lecture

April 15, 2021
4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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FREE and open to the public

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The normally staid world of health sciences campuses erupted alongside political tumult over civil rights and the Vietnam War. This talk will examine the roots of this activism in the 1940s, then discuss a short-lived but fervent burst of activism that followed in the 1960s at major medical schools across the country, particularly those located in cities with pervasive gulfs between gilded medical campuses and the neighborhoods that surrounded them. Activists pushed for a more socially responsive curriculum and community outreach. By the early 1970s, this activism had largely imploded, but many involved with it sought to continue it in the residency phase of their training. This talk examines closely one such effort at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx.

Dr. Merlin Chowkwanyun smiles in a striped shirt and blue jacket next to a large stuffed Totoro figure

Merlin Chowkwanyun is the Donald Gemson Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. He first book, All Health Politics is Local: Battles for Community Health in the Mid-Century United States, will be published by UNC Press in 2021. He is the Principal Investigator for, a National Science Foundation-funded repository of millions of once-secret documents on industrial poisons, and recently served on the Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era.

For accommodations requests, such as live captioning, please email Following the event, a recording will be made available via our Events page.