New Emergency Contraception Survey

backupyourbirthcontrol button Since the Center for History and New Media is no longer supporting Survey Builder, I have transferred my emergency contraception survey on Survey Monkey.

Please help me spread the word about it.  While I’m covering the entire history of emergency contraception, my replies thus far have mostly been from women and men whose experience with ECP has been very recent.  Therefore,  I’m especially  interested in getting responses from the earlier history of emergency contraception (aka the “morning-after-pill”) in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s (yes the technology has been around that long).

Shout out to grad school buddy — exposing publishing shenanigans of Big Pharma

via Tenured Radical.  Fellow Cornellian Sergio Sismondo, a Philosophy Professor at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, has an excellent new article in the online journal Academic Matters.  I heard Sergio give an earlier version of this research at a conference we attended at Oxford a few years ago.  He suggests that the relationship between Big Pharma, physicians, and major academic journals is “too close for comfort” or patient safety for that matter. Sergio describes what he calls the “ghost management” of scientific publications by Big Pharma:

“Pharmaceutical companies sponsor a considerable amount of research, typically performed by for-profit contract research organizations (CROs). On the basis of that data and the publicly available medical research, drug companies and their agents produce a significant percentage of the manuscripts on major current drugs. These manuscripts are then “authored” by academic researchers, whose contribution ranges from having supplied some of the patients for a clinical trial, to editing the manuscript, to simply signing off on the final draft. The companies then submit these manuscripts to medical journals, where they fare quite well and are published. The published articles contribute to accepted scientific opinions, but the circumstances of their production remain largely invisible. When the articles are useful, the marketing departments of the drug companies involved will buy thousands of reprints, which sales representatives (reps) can give to physicians.”

This is even worse than the free lunches, “retreats,” and swag the reps hand out — at least those are transparent attempts to buy business.  So much for “evidence-based medicine.”

Sergio’s research suggests that as much as 40 percent of  medical journal articles on  major drugs is ghost managed.   He argues that the pharmaceutical companies have developed a “new form of plagiarism” with the willing participation of professors eager to expand their list of publications.

University P&T committees take note — the unbelievably long CV you are reading could be a sham!

Knitting Clio’s grades are done, now time for some blogging

Oh my, how time passes — my last post was over two weeks ago!  Sorry folks, I’ve been recovering from a minor bike crash and trying to get grades and other end-of-semester stuff done.  Hopefully you all were satisfied with the swine flu article.   Here’s a round up of some recent articles related to swine flu from Inside Higher Education, since you know from my book that I’m an expert on college health.

Flu days:  Like snow days, except for illness.  Our university did not close, but we did see more signs telling us to wash our hands.

Swine flu and study abroad:  Initially, American programs canceled trips to Mexico, but it wasn’t long before foreign countries were considering quarantine of American students who were going abroad.  This is certainly a valuable cultural experience for American students, who are more used to hearing “dirty foreigners” being blamed for diseases.   My colleague who is leading a study abroad trip to Japan tells me that things have calmed down and now his students can go through the regular customs and immigration rather than being pulled aside for additional screening.

Paying for health care:   No surprise here — 20 percent of traditional age students, and way more non-traditional ones, have no health insurance.  So, if they get swine flu, they may not go to a doctor because they can’t afford it.

I suppose I should write an article for IHE or the Chronicle about how this fits into the larger history of colleges and epidemics.   Then again, I have to get cracking on the new project since the Rutgers booth at the AAHM meeting was already advertising it as a forthcoming title!

My publisher is going digital

I’m a bit slow in getting around to writing about this, but last month the University of Michigan Press announced that it would shift it’s emphasis towards digital publishing, at least for monographs.

I’m not as alarmed by this as some (after all, I teach digital history), but am concerned about what will happen to the paper copies of my book. As mentioned in an earlier post, sales of which have not been great (although they may pick up now that positive reviews have appeared in the lastest issues of  American Historical Review and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.  Also, this month, UMP is offering a discount Order online and enter discount code prescott09ump when prompted at checkout to receive 30% off this title).

Perhaps I should offer to remix the book as a piece of digital scholarship?

Back Up Your Birth Control Blogging, One Day Late

back_up_birth_controlAs usual, I’m a day late in blogging, but I’ll just blame it on the fact that I was exhausted from my trip to Bethesda for my talk at the NLM!

So, better late than never — yesterday was the Back Up Your Birth Control Day of Action sponsored by the National Institute for Reproductive Health.  Since this is the subject of my current research project, I’m blogging about it.  Please take action and respond to my Emergency Contraception survey — the link is at the end of my blog.

Encouraging news — a federal judge instructed the FDA to make Plan B available to 17-year olds without prescription.  This is a start anyway.

Good News, Bad news, and a shameless plug

Recent issues of the Chronicle of Higher Education have reported good news and bad news in college health.  The good news:  it looks like the new spending bill will lower the cost of contraceptives at campus health centers.  The bad news is that while demand for mental health services has increased, college counseling centers remainded understaffed.

And now for the shameless plug:  I will be talking about my recent book, Student Bodies, at the National Library of Medicine next Tuesday, March 24th.  Go here for more information.

Knitting Clio on TV

The CCSU BOOKSTORE  presents


CCSU’s cable television show featuring members of the Central family (faculty, staff, and alumni) talking about their books

and airing on some 20 cable outlets throughout Connecticut.  (Check your local listings!)

TODAY at NOON in the CCSU Bookstore

Student Bodies: the Influence of Student Health Services in American Society and Medicine

Heather Prescott (History)


Watch Central Authors daily on CCSU TV, channel 23, at 8:30 am, 2:30 pm, and 7:30 pm,


online at

Negative Royalties

Well, just got my royalty statement for Student Bodies, and had an unpleasant surprise.  It turns out that some of the books for which I received royalties have been returned to the press from the bookstores that ordered them.  So, my royalty statement is now in the negative.  Fortunately, I don’t have to return the money the royalties they paid me.  Still it is depressing that I’ve really only sold 296 copies in a year.  So much for my hope that this would get adopted for courses in history of medicine and/or by college and university libraries.

Book announcement: New Book on Women Physicians

Courtesy of H-Sci-Med-Tech:

Ellen More, Elizabeth Fee, and Manon Parry are pleased to announce a new, co-edited book from Johns Hopkins University Press, Women Physicians and the Cultures of Medicine (2008). This volume examines the diverse careers and lives of American women physicians since the mid-19th century, their struggles for equality, professional accomplishment, and personal happiness. Scholars in the history of medicine in the United States chronicle the professional and personal lives of women such as Drs. Marie Zakrzewska, Mary Putnam Jacobi, “Mom” Chung, Esther Pohl Lovejoy, and Mary S. Calderone as well as women physicians who were active in “alternative” medicine, the women’s health movement, college health, and second-wave medical feminism.

Illuminating the ethnic, political, and personal diversity of women physicians, the articles touch on most of the major issues in the history of women physicians-politics, medical science, medical education, health policy, patient care, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and, of course, gender discrimination. Contributors include Carla Bittel, Elizabeth Fee, Eve Fine, Erica Frank, Virginia Metaxas, Regina Morantz-Sanchez, Ellen S. More, Sandra Morgen, Heather M. Prescott, Robert Nye, Manon Parry, Naomi Rogers, Arleen M. Tuchman, Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, and Susan Wells.

First Review of my book

The first book review for my book, Student Bodies, just appeared in the September issue of Journal of American History.  Unfortunately you need a subscription to read the whole thing but the best parts are at the beginning anyway.

Now, if I can just get the Chronicle of Higher Education to include my book in the list of scholarly books.    It’s been ten months since it came out and they have received two copies from the publisher.  I’ve also nudged them a couple of times.  I know they receive lots of books, but come on, this book as actually ABOUT higher education!  What’s a lady scholar got to do to get noticed?