Newswise — Donna Patterson, Wellesley Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, is available to comment on the recent Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

Patterson says: "The continuing Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is quite significant. It raises concern about spread to other neighboring countries, the West African subregion, and beyond. Past outbreaks have mostly been isolated to the Great Lakes Region and Central Africa and often in less populous areas. Ebola is highly virulent with a high mortality rate, and it is troubling to see it spreading in this way."

About Donna Patterson:Donna A. Patterson is a historian of Africa and the African Diaspora with interests in pharmaceuticals, global health policy, gender, and the history of medicine. Her book, Pharmacy in Senegal: Gender, Healing, and Entrepreneurship, will be released by Indiana University Press in fall 2014.

Pharmacy in Senegal: Gender, Healing and Entrepreneurship examines the rise of pharmacists in twentieth-century Senegal. It chronicles the beginning of the pharmacy profession in Senegal beginning in the early twentieth century with the initial training in French biomedical traditions through the end of the twentieth century, with pharmacists at the forefront of biomedical healing. Relying on evidence from archives and oral interviews from several cities in Senegal and France, this book raises new questions about African medical professionalization in colonial and postcolonial Senegal, women entrepreneurs, biomedical care, and the pharmaceutical marketplace.

Her work has appeared in the Journal of Women's History and the Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved. Her current projects include a monograph-in-progress on illicit drug trades in West Africa and the Horn of Africa and a project on BRICS countries investment in health and medicine in Africa.

Patterson teaches classes in the Africana Studies Department that are interdisciplinary and transnational and include Health, Medical Professionals, and the Body, Francophone Africa, Women in the Civil Rights Movement, History of West Africa, and Introduction to the Black Experience (African Diaspora).

She has provided cultural and trade expertise to corporations, NGOs, and government agencies while working and living in Washington, DC and West Africa. While working at the Dakar Embassy, she advised businesses and foreign governments on trade, public relations and humanitarian concerns and reported on women's economic activity in rural and urban Senegal. She also helped to coordinate the U.S. Secretary of Transportation's Open Skies Summit in Senegal.

She holds a Ph.D. in African history and studies from Indiana University at Bloomington. She has received fellowships from Fulbright IIE, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Princeton University, the American Historical Association, the West African Research Association (WARA) and the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). She is also active in a number of professional associations including the American Historical Association, the African Studies Association, and Health and Medicine Coordinate Organization of the African Studies Association.