Center for Ethics and Humanities
in the Life Sciences

College of Human Medicine

 

 

Kathryn Lankford photo

Choosing to Test: Dr. A. P. Satterthwaite and the First Birth Control Pill Clinical Trials in Humacao, Puerto Rico

How did Adaline Pendleton Satterthwaite, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) working at a Protestant mission hospital in Puerto Rico, become one of the key architects of the first birth control pill? In 1952, Satterthwaite left the continental United States and went to Puerto Rico to work as an OB-GYN at Ryder Memorial Hospital in Humacao. She continued her work there through the early 1960s, but in 1957 she took on an additional job as Director of Family Planning Clinic and Research in Contraceptive Methods. In this capacity, Satterthwaite oversaw clinical trials of G.D. Searle & Co.’s Enovid, the first Food and Drug Administration approved oral contraceptive. This talk examines Satterthwaite’s personal and professional reasons for bringing the trials to Humacao, Puerto Rico and demonstrate her central, if understudied, role in the development of Enovid.
Kathryn Lankford is a Doctoral Student in the Department of History at Michigan State University.
Recorded October 19, 2016



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