2019 Message from the Co-Chairs

Letter from the Co-Chairs 

Dear STHC Section Members, 

This year we have continued our support for the "DNA as a record" request for action, initiated under the leadership of past co-chair, Polina Ilieva. STHC submitted this request for action to the SAA Committee on Public Policy in November 2018, and a draft was sent to the Ethics Committee and Privacy & Confidentiality Section for feedback. The action request addresses the ethical ramifications and challenges of collection and recordkeeping practices of DNA records. The request recommends that SAA convene a group of archivists with experience in collecting, preserving and providing access to DNA records and DNA material in their holdings, in particular in collections of refugees and asylum seekers’ records, patients’ records, and forensic records. This group would recruit members from allied professions including medical ethicists, geneticists, biomedical researchers, genealogists, health science historians and anthropologists, community advocates, criminal and immigration lawyers, and records managers.  

At mid-term, Gabrielle Barr stepped down as editor of the Archival Elements newsletter. After calling for a replacement, the Steering Committee appointed Jennifer Langford of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Health Sciences Library, along with a newsletter committee member, Peter Collopy of Caltech Library. The STHC Section is still seeking nominations for the position of junior co-chair. If you are interested in serving in a leadership role please contact us.  

Please join us at the STHC Section Meeting on Saturday, August 2nd from 10:00 am to 11:15 am to be held during SAA’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas! Specific location information will be forthcoming.  Please consult SAA's online schedule and program (https://archives2019.sched.com/) for more details. The program portion of our meeting will feature three lightning talks that highlight the stories of women, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and others often overlooked, undervalued, and  sometimes lost in the science, technology and healthcare archival record. Our presenters include: Linda Sellars of NC State University Libraries discussing the education and achievement of women in the field of engineering; Anna Reznik, Texas State Library and Archives presenting on Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority; and Ricc Ferrante, Smithsonian Institution Archives presenting Scientists' Field Notes: From buried in a closet to serving biodiversity researchers and citizen science.  

For those attending the Annual Meeting, you will find several sessions relating to Science, Technology and Health Care. STHC member Larissa Krayer bookmarked sessions, found here: https://archives2019.sched.com/sthc1 

We want to ensure that the STHC Section reflects the interests of its members, so we welcome your input for agenda items that you would like to see addressed at the meeting or during the upcoming year. 

Please feel free to contact us: 

Alison Oswald Archives Center, National Museum of American History oswalda@si.edu 202-633-3726 

Jennifer Ulrich Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library, Columbia University ju2007@cumc.columbia.edu 212-305-7931 

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