Skip to main content

Sarah Rodriguez

Associate Professor of Instruction, Global Health Studies; Lecturer, Medical Education, Feinberg School of Medicine; Senior Faculty, Medical Humanities and Bioethics Graduate Program

PhD University of Nebraska Medical Center 2005

Research and Teaching Interests

History of women’s reproductive and sexual health, contemporary concerns regarding women’s reproductive and sexual health internationally, history of clinical practice and research ethics


Sarah B. Rodriguez is a medical historian who focuses on women’s reproductive and sexual health since the early 20th century, and how history has framed current discourse. Her second book, The Love Surgeon: A Story of Trust, Harm, and the Limits of Medical Regulation, is from Rutgers University Press. Her first book, Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Treatment, was published in 2014. Rodriguez is currently working on the history of the ‘standard of care debate’ regarding the mid-1990s trials to reduce the likelihood of vertical transmission of HIV from mother to fetus and on the history of episiotomy as a standard of care. Her next project will concern the history of the International Confederation of Midwives and maternal health.

Prior to joining Northwestern’s faculty, Rodriguez was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, first in the Woodruff Laboratory with the Oncofertility Consortium and then in the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program.


Global Health Courses Taught

  • Global Bioethics
  • History of Reproductive Health
  • History of Global Health
  • History of Maternal Health in the 20th Century

Recent Publications

  • “Expanding Underrepresented in Medicine to Include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Individuals,” co-authored with Tim Kelly, Academic Medicine 97 (November 2022), 1605-1609
  • “Pregnant Women, HIV, and Clinical Research to Prevent Perinatal Transmission in the 1990s,” Journal of Contemporary History 57 (2022), 878-894.
  • “Expanding Underrepresented in Medicine to Include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Individuals,” co-authored with Tim Kelly, Academic Medicine 10 (May 2022), published ahead of print
  • “Pregnant Women, HIV, and Clinical Research to Prevent Perinatal Transmission in the 1990s,” Journal of Contemporary History (published on-line ahead of print, June 2022), DOI: 10.1177/00220094221107493
  • "Restoring 'Virginal Conditions' and Reinstating the 'Normal': Episiotomy in 1920," in Heterosexual Histories, Rebecca Davis and Michele Mitchell, eds. (New York University Press, 2021), 303-330.
  • "A History of Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery in the United States: Marginal to Mainstream," in Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery: Solution to What Problem? Sarah Creighton and Lih-Mei Liao, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2019): 33-41.
  • Listen to a New Books Network interview with Sarah Rodriguez on her book The Love Surgeon
  • Rodriguez, S. (2015). Watching the Watch-Glass: Miriam Menkin and One Woman’s Work in Reproductive Science, 1938–1952. Women's Studies, 44(4), 451-467. DOI: 10.1080/00497878.2015.1013215
  • Listen to a interview with Sarah Rodriguez 
  • Read an interview at the Global Health Blog with Sarah Rodriguez 
  • Rodriguez, S. B. (2013). Female sexuality and consent in public discourse: James Burt's "love surgery". Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(3), 343-351. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-012-0030-8
  • Rodriguez, S., Campo-Engelstein, L., & Emanuel, L. (2013). Fertile future? potential social implications of oncofertility. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 31(6), 665-667. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2012.44.0990
  • Rodriguez, S. B., Campo-Engelstein, L., Clayman, M. L., Knapp, C., Quinn, G., Zoloth, L., & Emanuel, L. (2013). Pathways toward the future: Points to consider for oncofertility oversight. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 7(1), 140-145. DOI: 10.1007/s11764-012-0255-5
  • Campo-Engelstein, L., Tingen, C., Rodriguez, S., & Woodruff, T. K. (2012). Conceiving ethical gamete and embryo research in a post-dickey-wicker USA. Science and Public Policy, 39(1), 129-132. DOI: 10.3152/030234212X13214603531888
  • Rodriguez, S. B., & Schonfeld, T. L. (2012). The Organ-That-Must-Not-Be-Named: Female Genitals and Generalized References. Hastings Center Report, 42(3), 19-21. DOI: 10.1002/hast.35
Back to top