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Medical Malpractice: The Racist Roots of Prejudice in Covid-19 America


Project creators



Zoe Mendel

Undergraduate student

Villanova University


Rebecca Winer

Associate Professor of History

Villanova University


About the project    

Zoe Mendel is a senior at Villanova, participating in the health affiliations six-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program through Thomas Jefferson University. In addition to completing her Bachelor of Science in Biology, she is currently a first year Doctor of Physical Therapy Student. While enrolled last spring in Dr. Rebecca Winer’s undergraduate course on the History of Black Death Zoe examined the sociocultural impact the pandemic had on different cultures and classes. During the semester, she wrote a paper on the plague in Madagascar, which focused on lapses in health care structure, education, and patient adherence to policy surrounding the plague, in an attempt to explain why outbreaks persist there annually.

Zoe's Lepage Center project continued her research into lapses in public health education and policy as they pertain to Covid-19. Her research focused on the perspectives of marginalized populations, specifically Black Americans and the incarcerated, both of whom have limited access to health care.

Zoe plans to share her research with student organizations at Thomas Jefferson University in order to contribute to meaningful discussions about race and healthcare in her new academic community. She is part of a student group at Thomas Jefferson University, called ‘Together TJU,’ which is a focus group discussing topics related to race and health care.


For more information:


The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest
St. Augustine Center, Room 410
Villanova University
Villanova, PA 19085

Media inquiries:

Please contact the Villanova University media relations department.