Science & Technology

Author Harriet Washington to discuss Deadly Monopolies at UGA Lecture

Athens, Ga. – Acclaimed author Harriet A. Washington will visit the University of Georgia on April 4 to discuss her latest book Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself and the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future. Her lecture will take place at 4 p.m. in room 248 of the Miller Learning Center.

Five years in the making, Deadly Monopolies is garnering media attention in the U.S. and abroad. In the book, Washington posits that a series of laws were sold to the American public more than 30 years ago on the promise they would transform U.S. medical research. Instead, the laws transferred the control of medical research from universities and researchers to profit-seeking corporations with dire consequence for patients in the U.S. and abroad, including the developing world.

“Harriet Washington’s first book, Medical Apartheid, told bone-chilling stories about how African Americans have been exploited by medical science since colonial times,” said Patricia Thomas, Knight Chair of Health and Medical Journalism in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “For this she won major national awards and established herself as a moral thinker worth listening to.”

Published in October 2011, Washington’s second book is a monumental piece of research, extensively footnoted, a great source for scholars as well as citizens interested in how much control we’ve lost over our own bodies, Thomas said.

Washington’s writing focuses on the intersection of medicine, ethics and culture. She has worked as a news editor, arts editor and as the science editor for two metropolitan dailies, followed by a stint as page one editor for USA Today.

She has been published in various national periodicals, such as Essence, Health, New Scientist and Psychology Today, as well as peer-reviewed medical publications, including Nature, American Journal of Public Health, Harvard Public Health Review, the Harvard AIDS Review, New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. She also has written a monthly column on medical ethics issues for Emerge magazine.

The New York City resident first spoke at UGA during Black History Month in 2008. She has also been a journalism professional-in-residence in the Grady College.

Thomas encouraged community attendance at the lecture. “Deadly Monopolies is a call to conscience for scholars and citizens alike,” she said. “If you’ve made a discovery with medical potential, applied for a patent, designed an ad campaign, written a prescription, filled a prescription or asked your doctor for the little purple pill, then Harriet Washington has something to say to you. Something important and disturbing.”

Books will be available for sale and signing following the lecture.

Washington’s visit is being co-sponsored by the UGA Office of Institutional Diversity and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.