Rebecca O. Johnson

BA, MS (community economic development), Southern New Hampshire University. MFA (nonfiction), Sarah Lawrence College. Founder and executive director of Cooperative Economics for Women, Boston, Massachusetts. Expertise in community organizing, participatory action research, oral history, and other forms of community history research. Recent published works include: Lonesome Refugees (Callaloo, 2007); We Want To Be At The Table: Helping Environmental Groups Rebuild After Katrina (Environmental Support Center, 2006); The History of Charity (Grassroots Fundraising Journal Conference, 2006); New Moon Over Roxbury, Ecofeminism and the Sacred, Carol Adams, ed. (Continuum, 1993). SLC, 2007—

Current graduate courses

History of Health Care in the United States


From colonial times, access to health care has been less a history of access and inclusion and more one of exclusion and organizing to guarantee its access to the increasingly diverse population of a growing country. In this conference-based course, we will explore the varied understandings of health and medical care from colonial times to the late 20th century. Topics to be considered will include the role that ethnicity, race, gender, and religious identity played in access to and provision of health services; the migration of health care from home and community (midwifery, homeopathy) to institutions (nursing, hospitals) and the social conditions that fueled that migration; the struggle for ascendancy among the different fields of medical education; and the creation of the field of public health, its role in defining and controlling outbreaks of disease, and its impact on addressing inequities in access to health care services. Course participants will prepare a major research paper, investigating an aspect of the history of health care that is of special interest. The conference paper will be developed through regular meetings with the instructor and in conjunction with other course participants.


Previous courses

Capstone Seminar


The Capstone project and seminar provide health-advocacy students the opportunity to integrate their academic learning with field experience and examine how theoretical advocacy themes are made operational in workplace settings. Capstone is designed to enhance the coherence of students’ educational experiences and further develop their sense of professional identity. The project generally builds on the third and final fieldwork placement and is supported by this Capstone Seminar, which provides students with a strategic perspective on how the field is evolving and the skills required to successfully navigate a rapidly changing profession in a health-care system poised for significant reform. The seminar is designed to facilitate students’ work on their Capstone projects by providing them with a group setting in which to explore ideas and refine project parameters, connect the project to broader advocacy concepts and career development opportunities, and receive regular feedback on Capstone progress.