Gladys Reynolds recollections (from 8/24/2012 email to Vic)

. . .

I told Bill that he is the right person to work with you on this. He is probably much more aware of what was being collected at NCHS. I know they have data in the HEALTH US series going way back. So Bill, you can tell him about starting the Statistics in Epidemiology Section and all the other activities you were involved in. You should also add to what I wrote below.

I was very much involved in trying to hire women and minorities. When I first came to CDC in 1960 as an EIS officer, there were almost no minorities and probably no African Americans. There were none in Atlanta but I can't say there was no one out in the states. (Bill, do you know when Frank Miller was hired?) In 1965 there was an African American EIS officer and they couldn't find a place for him to rent near CDC. There were very few women in professional positions especially at higher levels. I think I was the second woman to be a GS15. Believe me there was major resistance. I could tell many stories but I won't.
But, I was lucky. Almost every boss I had was great and supportive of our efforts. (Only one exception.)

The American Statistical Association was always very progressive, especially if you compared them to other organizations. The leadership was supportive of the efforts to bring more minorities into the field of statistics. The Committee on Minorities (which I chaired for a number of years) held Mini StatFests, Conferences for Undergraduates to inform them of the opportunities in the field of statistics, in a number of schools (Spelman, Maharry Medical College, Hampton University, U. of Hawaii, etc.). We also presented sessions at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).
After you wrote the ACE statement the ASA Committee on Minorities also wrote a Statement of Principles and Policy Recommendations. They can be found at websites: (old link) (old link)

We also organized and presented many invited sessions on issues in Minority Health.

Hope this helps. Bill, you can add on this and everything else you were doing.

By the way, there is good book, " An American Health Dilemma, Race, Medicine, and Health Care in the United States - 1900 - 2000" by W. Michael Byrd and Linda A. Clayton on this history.

Good luck.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Schoenbach, Victor J" <><br />
To: Gladys Reynolds <>
Cc: "" <>
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2012 12:26 PM
Subject: CDC and your involvement in health disparities work before 1985

Hi, Gladys –
I saw your note in Bob Robinson’s email so I thought I’d say “hello”. I was actually thinking of you the other day and had a question that I wanted to ask.
I’m supposed to be on a panel at the ACE Minority Affairs Committee workshop in a few weeks. I was going to mention something of the history of health disparities efforts, and I usually take as my starting place the 1985 Secretary’s Task Force report (the Heckler report) as the time when the federal government first gave formal recognition to health disparities and the need to do something about them.
I began to wonder whether there were things being done, talked about, or published earlier than that, for example, at CDC. I also wondered what led up to the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health.
Has anything been written down about what was going on, what you were doing, what Bill Jenkins was doing?  In our first Minority Affairs Committee publication we mentioned Bill’s reception when he arrived for his PHS entrance physical exam at CDC in 1968. So I assume that health disparities weren’t prominent on the CDC agenda then.
I’d be grateful for anything you can share.  And if there isn’t anything written, perhaps you this should be another Minority Affairs Committee article, perhaps jointly with the ASA Minority Committee?
Warm regards,