Susan Schnall

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Susan Schnall

Susan Schnall is a co-coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, chairing the legislative outreach and science group. She is currently a professor in Health Policy and Planning at NYU and a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and American Public Health Association. In 1969 she was tried and convicted by a general court martial for her anti-war activities while a member of the US Navy.[1]


Susan M. Schnall became an active duty member of the US Naval Reserves in June, 1967; attended Officers Indoctrination School at Newport, Rhode Island and was sent to Oak Noll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California where she cared for Marines returning from Viet Nam.

After trial by general court martial and dismissal by the Navy for anti-war activities, she moved to New York where she worked with the United States Servicemen’s Fund, raising money for the GI coffee houses. She also worked with Medical Aid for Indochina/Medical Committee for Human Rights to raise money for medical supplies for the PRG and Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi.

In 1975, Susan Schnall joined the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation as a community organizer and then spent 31 years in the NYC public hospital system as an administrator for clinical quality improvement. She worked for 8 years at Bellevue Hospital in an executive administrative position before retiring. She also worked in the disabled rights movement over the years and is currently an assistant professor at New York University in the School of Continuing Professional Studies Program, teaching health care policy and planning.

Today she is a member of the core of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, an organization working to obtain compensation for American and Vietnamese victims of AO spraying from the involved chemical companies and the US government. An additional priority of the organization is the remediation (clean up) of the remaining “hot spots” caused by dioxin contamination in southern Vietnam. Circa 2012/2013 she was a member of the delegation of American veterans from Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Iraq Veterans Against the War that visited Vietnam on an Agent Orange fact finding mission.[2]

Citizens' Commission of Inquiry

In 1971 Susan Schnall - USSF - a nurse who joined the anti-war movement, hung around Socialist Workers Party fronts, served on the National Co-ordinating Committee of the National Committee for a Citizens' Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam, aka, for short, the Citizens' Commission of Inquiry (CCI) and some other Marxist organizations.

Lobbying Congress

November 7, 2007, second from left Merle Ratner, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, far right Susan Schnall

From November 1-14, 2007, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong a leading clinician / researcher on the effects of Agent Orange on women and children in Vietnam from Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, visited Washington DC on an Vietnam Agent Orange Public Health Tour

Dr. Phuong, Vice President of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange toured Washington DC where a policy of the American Public Health Association on Agent Orange (Vietnamese version) was passed on November 6 2007. Dr Phuong was accompanied by Merle Ratner of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and Susan Schnall (both leaders of the Committees of Correspondence dominated Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign.

The delegation met several members of Congress including John Conyers, Bob Filner and Sheila Jackson-Lee.[3]

Dr. Phuong has held many senior positions in Vietnam's communist government including;[4]

2010, Vietnam visit

In 2010, circa March, a delegation from Veterans for Peace visited Vietnam.

Paul Cox, the leader of the group, fought with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam.

Other members of the delegation, all members of Veterans for Peace, were Susan Schnall, a former Navy nurse who tended wounded soldiers during the Vietnam war at a California Navy hospital, Michael Uhl, a former Army counter-intelligence officer who served in Vietnam, Ken Mayers, a former Marine Corps major who served in Vietnam and Geoff Millard, an Army National Guard soldier who served in Iraq.

The veterans were in Vietnam for two weeks to visit people suffering from Agent Orange exposure, members and leaders of the Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims Association (VAVA), public health workers and officials of the Vietnamese government. They are gathering information to make the case to the U.S. government that the Vietnamese people should be compensated for the pain and suffering endured as a result of being exposed to Agent Orange.

Mike Ferner, a former Navy hospital corpsman and president of Veterans for Peace, was also a member of the VFP delegation to Vietnam.[5]

Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign

In 2012 Susan Schnall served on the Board of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign.[6]

Vietnam visit

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan suggested US scientists conduct deeper research to establish concrete data which can be used as a basis to ask for assistance in environmental detoxification and rehabilitation treatment for Agent Orange victims.

Susan Schnall, Nguyen Thien Nhan, Hanoi June 8, 2012

Nhan made the proposal at a meeting in Hanoi on June 8, 2012, with a delegation of the American public health association under the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign , led by Susan M. Schnall.

He stressed that millions of Vietnamese people were exposed to the Agent Orange sprayed by the US troop during the war in Vietnam and the toxic chemical continues to affect younger generations of the victims.

After the Vietnamese Government and people presented clear evidence on the AO consequences, the US Government has become aware of their responsibility and has taken the first step in overcoming the aftermath of the chemical warfare, but it is not enough, the Deputy PM said.

He went on to say that the Vietnamese Government is implementing community-based rehabilitation projects for AO victims with the aim of improving their living conditions and helping them integrate into the community. However, the work is hindered by limited financial resource while the victims’ need is huge.

For her part, Susan Schnall, who is VAORRC coordinator, said her delegation came to Vietnam to meet AO victims and inspect AO-infected sites.

According to Schnall, the delegation has also got together with a number of US congressmen to draw up a draft bill requiring the US government to pay compensation to Vietnamese AO victims, and deal with consequences on the environment.

She affirmed that VAORRC will continue its efforts to raise the public’s awareness as well as its campaign at the US Congress to garner support for the Vietnamese AO victims’ fight for justice.[7]

The delegation of science and public health professionals affiliated with the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign a project of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace, was invited to Vietnam by the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin. The purpose of the trip was to visit people suffering from illnesses recognized among American veterans to be associated with the spraying and use of AO/dioxin by the US military during the American conflict in Vietnam.

Members of the American delegation included: Dr. Franklin Mirer, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Hunter College of the City University of New York and former Director of the Health and Safety Department for the United Automobile Workers; Dr. Jean Grassman, Associate Professor at City University of New York and researcher investigating the effect of dioxins on human populations; Dr. Michael McGarvey, whose career includes executive responsibility at the federal, state, and local levels, academic administration and teaching at New York university, and senior executive positions in the private sector; Dr. Carole Baraldi, a professional nurse practitioner and educator on disability and women's health care; Marie Elivert, a health care executive with over 35 years in the private and public sector; Dr. Daniel Robie, Assistant Professor at York College of the City University of New York where he conducts research, has authored a number of scientific papers, and teaches physical, analytical, and inorganic chemistry. Also, Susan Schnall, Adjunct Assistant Professor at New York University in Health Policy and Planning, worked for 31 years as a senior executive in public hospitals in New York, and is a co coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign and a national coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.[8]

Veterans for Peace

Veterans of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars gathered in May 2013, at a New York Area Veterans for Peace conference.

The one-day meet was devoted to the group's attempt to address the challenges of today's peace movement. The main topic of the day was to build a culture of peace at the grassroots level. Susan Schnall, a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran and activist nurse along with Michael McPhearson, a Gulf War veteran and past executive director of the national organization moderated the conference.[9]