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News Outlets Examine Histories Of Smallpox, Polio Eradication Efforts, Human Testing Of Contraceptives

New York Times: Retro Report: Politics and Plagues
“In bold documentary style, Retro Report looks back at the major stories that shaped the world using fresh interviews, analysis, and compelling archival footage.” This short documentary examines the eradication of smallpox and efforts to eliminate polio worldwide, with a focus on the interplay between global politics and disease control (5/15).

Washington Post: Guinea pigs or pioneers? How Puerto Rican women were used to test the birth control pill.
“…[B]efore the circular dials and rectangular packs [of contraceptives] gained a regular spot on bathroom sinks and at the bottom of purses, the people behind them first had to prove they were effective — and to do that, they needed to test them on humans. Where they chose to conduct those tests marks one the most controversial — and rarely discussed — chapters in the history of a drug that symbolizes women’s liberation. In the mid-1950s, the first large-scale human trial of the pill was launched in a public housing project in Puerto Rico — and the distrust was immediate…” (Vargas, 5/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.