Program Details

Caring in Crisis:  Nurses and the Early AIDS Epidemic

Karissa Haugeberg
Science / History

Course Description

In the early 1980s, otherwise healthy young men were developing rare illnesses that generally plagued the elderly. Soon, HIV came to be identified primarily with gay men, recent emigres from Haiti, and hemophiliacs. While scholars have examined the history of the AIDS pandemic, few have chronicled how the illness transformed nurses. Drawing upon archival documents, medical journals, newspapers, and oral histories, Haugeberg examines the first generation of nurses who volunteered to work on dedicated AIDS units and chronicles the experiences of Barbara Fassbinder, one of the first U.S. nurses who contracted HIV on the job. Finally, she will consider how the HIV pandemic transformed the practice of American nursing.

About the Instructor

  • Karissa Haugeberg, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at Tulane University. Her first book, "Women Against Abortion," was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2017. She co-edited the textbook, "Women's America: Refocusing the Past" and is completing a book on the history of nursing in the U.S. since 1960. She teaches courses about U.S. women's history and the history of medicine.