Gwenn M. Jensen

Dr. Gwenn Jensen is a consulting medical anthropologist and oral historian and holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Together with Naomi Hirahara, she co-authored Silent Scars of Healing Hands: Oral Histories of Japanese American Doctors in World War II Detention Camps (2004), a project funded by the Japanese American Medical Association and the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and published by the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton.

Updated June 2008

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Enduring Communities

Dysentery, Dust, and Determination: Health Care in the World War II Japanese American Detention Camps

On February 19, 1942, less than 74 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which set in motion the subsequent exclusion and detention of all Americans of Japanese ancestry, whether aliens ineligible for US citizenship (Issei) or their U.S.-born citizen children (Nisei) and grandchildren (Sansei), living on the West Coast. The military began rounding up Japanese Americans as early as February 27, giving some as little as 48 hours to pack up. Within four months, more than 110,000 people had been removed from their homes and transplante…

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