In American Catholic Hospitals, Barbra Mann Wall chronicles changes in Catholic hospitals during the twentieth century, many of which are emblematic of trends in the American healthcare system.
Wall explores the Church's struggle to safeguard its religious values. As hospital leaders reacted to increased political, economic, and societal secularization, they extended their religious principles in the areas of universal health care and adherence to the Ethical and Religious Values in Catholic Hospitals, leading to tensions between the Church, government, and society. The book also examines the power of women--as administrators, Catholic sisters wielded significant authority--as well as the gender disparity in these institutions which came to be run, for the most part, by men. Wall also situates these critical transformations within the context of the changing Church policy during the 1960s. She undertakes unprecedented analyses of the gendered politics of post-Second Vatican Council Catholic hospitals, as well as the effect of social movements on the practice of medicine.
Barbra Mann Wall, PhD, RN, is a nurse historian known for her studies on women and health care institutions and for her focus on Catholic hospitals and oral histories of retired nurses. Her recent work addresses the history of disaster nursing in the Southwest and the way people interpret disasters of the past. She is associate professor and associate director at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, with previous faculty positions at Purdue and Duke Universities. She is widely published, with 19 refereed journal articles and 2 books, one of which, Unlikely Entrepreneurs: Catholic Sisters and the Hospital Marketplace, won the 2006 Lavinia Dock Award for Best Book, American Association for the History of Nursing (AAHN). Her newest book, American Catholic Hospitals: A Century of Changing Missions and Markets, is in press with Rutgers University Press. Dr. Wall is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the American Association for the History of Nursing and Medicine, the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and more. She presents at major international and national nursing and women's research meetings and is the recipient of numerous research and program grants, from five to six figures.