Graduate Jenny Shelby wins Mildred Priest Frank Award and the Lily Rosen Prize in Women’s Health

Department News
Student Awards and Recognition
May 29, 2013

We are proud to announce that Jenny Shelby has been awarded the Department’s Mildred Priest Frank Award for her senior thesis, “Prescribing Power and The Pill: Medical Authority in the Popularization of Oral Contraceptives in the United States of America, 1957 to 1965”. Her thesis, which makes a novel contribution to the sociology and history of medicine, also won the Lily Rosen Prize in Women’s Health, awarded annually by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Jenny ventured into the National Archives, with support from the Department’s Adam Rose Fund. She uncovered a trove of surveys done by the FDA with influential physicians in 1960 as the Agency decided whether to approve the birth control pill. In contrast to the dominant thread of gender scholarship on physician/patient relationships in the middle of the twentieth century, Jenny found that the physicians support approval and in fact were already routinely prescribing the pill “off label,” and discovered that the widespread and well-accepted model of the 1950s American physician as a patriarchal roadblock to women’s emancipation simply did not hold in this case. Congratulations, Jenny!