Wed • Jan

Wednesday, January 18, 2017



The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029


Free, but advance registration is required

Sponsored by

The Milbank Memorial Fund and The New York Academy of Medicine

Presidents Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, of the New York Academy of Medicine and Christopher F. Koller of the Milbank Memorial Fund cordially invite you to join a conversation with Rosemary Stevens, PhD, MPH, author of A Time of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, and the Making of the Veterans Bureau.

Professor Stevens’ new book offers a provocative look at politics and gossip in the 1920s. With the nation still recovering from World War I, President Warren G. Harding founded a huge new organization to treat disabled veterans: the U.S. Veterans Bureau, now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs. He appointed his friend, decorated veteran Colonel Charles R. Forbes, as founding director. Forbes lasted in the position for only 18 months before stepping down under a cloud of criticism and suspicion. He was sent to Leavenworth Penitentiary after being convicted of conspiracy to defraud the federal government by rigging government contracts. Stevens relates Forbes’ story to major political and social agendas of the time, including professionalism, social class, and efforts to bring business efficiency to government, and concludes that he was almost certainly not guilty of the crime for which he was convicted.

Professor Stevens will be interviewed by David Rosner, PhD, MPH, the Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

View a recent Q&A on C-SPAN  with Rosemary Stevens about her book. 

About the Author

Professor Stevens is a Board Director of the Milbank Memorial Fund and a DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholar in Social Medicine and Public Policy at Weill Cornell Medical College, Department of Psychiatry. She is also the Stanley I. Sheerr Professor Emeritus in Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member (and sometime chair) of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. Professor Stevens has published six books and numerous articles, and has chaired or been a member of national policy committees on subjects as diverse as national blood policy, for-profit health care, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, alternative medicine, graduate medical education payments, and Medicare as social contract.

About the Interviewer

Professor David Rosner’s work focuses on research at the intersection of public health and social history and the politics of public health, occupational disease, and industrial pollution. His current work on the history of industry and understanding the harms done by their industrial toxins has been part of law suits on behalf of asbestos workers and silicosis victims. Professor Rosner has been honored with many awards for his outstanding work in public health, and is an author and editor of many books on the history of hospitals and public health.