Deirdre Cooper Owens is The Charles and Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also the Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the country’s oldest cultural institution. Dr. Cooper Owens is the recipient of several prestigious honors in history and reproductive justice. An award-winning scholar, Dr. Cooper Owens’ first book, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology, won a OAH Darlene Clark Hine Award. She is currently writing a popular biography of Harriet Tubman that examines her through the lens of disability. Dr. Cooper Owens primarily teaches classes on the history of medicine, U.S. slavery, and women's history. A popular public speaker, she has lectured globally and continues to make a number of public appearances on national media outlets as an expert on issues of race and medicine, especially medical racism and disparities.
Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens moves between southern plantations and northern urban centers to reveal how nineteenth-century American ideas about race, health, and status influenced doctor-patient relationships in sites of healing like slave cabins, medical colleges, and hospitals. She retells the story of black enslaved women and Irish immigrant women from the perspective of these exploited groups and restores for us a picture of their lives.