Keynote: Harriet Washington


Harriet Washington is a medical ethicist, science writer and author whose books include Medical Apartheid, the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, a PEN award and others. Ms.Washington’s long-standing fascination with the history of medicine has driven her academic achievements, which include completing a premedical course, winning a Visiting Fellowship at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, a Research Fellowship in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, and appointment as a senior scholar at DePaul College of Law and at the National Centre for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. She earned a Masters in Journalism (Science track) from Columbia University where she lectures in bioethics. Ms.Washington has also worked as a poison centre manager, a classical-music announcer for public radio, and curates a medical film series.

Her work has been seminal in repairing the relationships between African Americans and organised modern medicine. In 2008, she coauthored a JAMA article that formed the basis for the American Medical Association’s apology to the nation’s black physicians. In 2018, her criticism of Dr. James Marion Sims’ experimental surgeries on African American women led to the removal and banishment of his statue from New York’s Central Park. Travelling all the way from New York, Ms Washington will open Day 3: Atonement.