"Have You Ever Heard of This Thing Called the Lincoln Collective?": The World of New York City Health Activism in the 1970s

Emily  Miranker's picture
May 24, 2016
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Health and Health Care, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Human Rights, Public Health

What do you do if you’re a young physician with a growing sense of social justice, and the world looks like it’s in political upheaval around you?

In 1970, about two-dozen young physicians asked themselves this very question. They chose to do their internships and residencies at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx and called themselves the Lincoln Collective. Over the next few years, they worked in one of the most dilapidated and difficult public hospitals in the United States. Some were motivated by an inclination to serve the most marginalized and medically underserved patients. Others saw themselves and the Collective as a medical cadre; part of a much larger process of radical political transformation. Most fell somewhere in between.

Merlin Chowkwanyun’s talk discusses the origins of the Collective; its successes and frustrations; and the often tense relationship between its members and revolutionary Third World groups that had also taken an interest in health activism as well.

About the Speaker

Merlin Chowkwanyun is an Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He is writing a book on health care activism in the 1960s and 1970s. His interests include environmental health policy, medical care organization, and social movements around health.


This lecture is part of the New York Academy of Medicine Library’s History of Medicine series.

Date:                     Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Time:                     6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Location:               The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029

Free and open to the public; advance registration is requested. To register for this event: http://www.nyam.org/events/event/new-york-city-health-activism-1970s/

For more information about this and other upcoming history of medicine events in the New York area, see the calendar page of our blog, “Books, Health, and History”: http://nyamcenterforhistory.org/calendar/.

Contact Info: 

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

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