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The Section of the History of Medicine is comprised of an active group of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, affiliates, research staff and visiting professors.  The section is supported by a small administrative staff.


  • Lecturer; Assistant Clinical Professor; Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine

    Sakena Abedin, MD PhD is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and a Lecturer in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine.

    Dr. Abedin is a practicing primary care pediatrician who sees patients at the Saint Raphael Campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital and teaches residents at the Yale Pediatric Primary Care Center. She is also a historian who studies 20th century American medicine.

    Dr. Abedin’s research focuses on medicine’s encounters with the social world and the various ways in which ‘social’ problems become medicalized in clinical research and practice. Her dissertation is about the history of clinical and social science research on patient behavior, specifically, patients’ compliance with their doctor’s advice.

    Her teaching interests include the history of healthcare for underserved populations and the history of racial disparities in health in the United States.

  • Rene Almeling

    Associate Professor Tenure

    In my research and teaching, I focus on issues associated with gender and medicine. Using a range of historical, qualitative, and quantitative methods, I examine questions about how biological bodies and cultural norms interact to influence scientific knowledge, medical markets, and individual experiences. My first book, Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm (University of California Press, 2011), received awards from the American Sociological Association and the American Anthropological Association. In 2013, I was honored to receive the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Research, one of Yale’s highest honors.

    Currently, I am researching and writing my second book, Guynecology: Men, Medical Knowledge, and Reproduction (under contract with the University of California Press). Funded by a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation, this project examines the history of medical knowledge-making about men’s reproduction and its consequences for individual men. In addition, I am writing articles based on two original surveys, one on women’s bodily experiences of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the second on Americans’ attitudes toward genetic risk (with Shana Gadarian, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

  • Paola Bertucci

    Associate Professor Tenure

    My research investigates how the interactions between humans and artifacts shaped the production of natural knowledge in the early modern period. My approach brings together the history of science with the history of technology and the history of medicine, as well as more broadly, cultural and economic history, art history, social studies of science and technology, and studies in material culture.

    By exploring the relationship between humans, artifacts and natural knowledge, I seek to understand the ways in which this relationship shaped or challenged perceived boundaries between the natural and the artificial, the hand and the mind, knowing and making, science and industry, individual profit and public utility. I am also interested in the role of artifacts in the articulation of Enlightenment epistemic categories (such as natural order, the “normal” body, human progress), as well as in the scientific, commercial, political, and social networks that scientific and technical artifacts created.

    I have published widely on the involvement of the human body in electrical experiments, on collecting and museums, on the public culture of science, as well as on industrial espionage and secrecy. My first book focuses on scientific culture, particularly electrical experimentation, in 18th-century Italy, Viaggio nel paese delle meraviglie. Scienza e curiosità nell’Italia del Settecento, (“A Journey in the land of marvels: Science and curiosity in 18th-century Italy”, 2007). I also co-edited a volume on the history of the medical applications of electricity (Electric Bodies. Episodes in the history of medical electricity, 2001).  

    My second book, Artisanal Enlightenment: Science and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France (Yale University Press, 2017), argues for the centrality of the mechanical arts and the world of making in the Enlightenment. With a radical shift of historical actors, it brings to the forefront the figure of the artiste, a learned artisan who defined himself in contrast to philosophers, savants, and routine-bound craftsmen. Artisanal Enlightenment was awarded the Louis Gottschalk Prize for best book in eighteenth century studies. 

    I have been active in bringing the history of science to the broader public. Betweeen 2004 and 2007 I collaborated on the renovation of the Museum of the History of Science in Florence, now Galileo Museum, where I curated two permanent galleries: The Spectacle of Science and Science at Home. At Yale, I teach courses on The Scientific Revolution, The Art and Science of the Body, Collecting Nature and Art, History and Material Culture. 

    My work has been acknowledged with the 2019 Louis Gottschalk Prize for best book in eighteenth century studies by the American Society For Eighteenth Century Studies, the 2016 Margaret W. Rossiter Prize for best article on the history of women in science awarded by the History of Science Society, and the 2015 Clifford Prize for best article in 18th-century studies awarded by the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. In 2012 I received the Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching from Yale College.

  • Joanna Radin

    Associate Professor in the History of Medicine

    Joanna Radin (Associate Professor, effective July, 2018) received her PhD in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines the social and technical conditions of possibility for the systems of biomedicine and biotechnology that we live with today. She has particular interests in global histories of biology, ecology, medicine, technology, and anthropology since 1945; history and anthropology of life and death; biomedical technology and computing; feminist, indigenous, and queer STS; and science fiction.

    She is the author of Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood (Chicago 2017), the first history of the low-temperature biobank and and co-editor, with Emma Kowal of Cyropolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World (MIT 2017), which considers the technics and ethics of freezing across the life and environmental sciences. 

  • Miriam Rich

    Lecturer in the History of Medicine

    Miriam Rich is a Lecturer in the History of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine and Yale University's Program in the History of Science and Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University. She is a historian of medicine and biology in the modern United States, focusing on the social and political contexts of health and bodies within historical systems of race, gender, and citizenship. Her research and teaching interests include the history of reproductive health; medical and scientific concepts of race, sex, and disability; the experience and treatment of pain; healthcare and public health policy; and medical ethics. 

    Her current book project, “Monstrous Births: Race and Defective Reproduction in U.S. Medical Science,” examines how the biological category of the “monster" was entwined with developing discourses of race, gender, and bodily deviance in the 19th- and 20th-century United States. She has also written about the racialization of pain in 19th-century obstetrics, the use of racial categories in 20th- and 21st-century genetics and genomics, and the sociopolitical contexts of 20th-century vaccination policies in the United States, and previously co-authored biological research in behavioral ecology. She teaches courses at Yale on the history of health and incarceration; the history of reproductive health and medicine; and the history of public health, race, and citizenship in the United States. 

  • Assistant Professor

    Carolyn Roberts is an historian of medicine with a joint appointment in the departments of History/History of Science and Medicine and African American Studies.  Professor Roberts’ research interests concern early modern medicine where she explores themes of race and slavery, natural history and botany, and African indigenous knowledge in the Atlantic world.  

    Professor Roberts is currently working on a book project called To Heal and To Harm: Medicine, Knowledge, and Power in the Atlantic Slave Trade.  This manuscript represents the first full-length study of the history of medicine in the British slave trade.  The book’s narrative is centered around the pharmaceutical and medical labor performed by a largely unknown group of African and British women and men, both enslaved and free.  In studying their labor, her project illustrates how the slave trade functioned as an insidious, and even ghostly, knowledge project which pushed the boundaries of pharmacy, surgery, and natural history.  Professor Roberts vividly traces how the slave trade contributed to the development of the pharmaceutical industry, the modernization of medicine, and the advancement of natural history. 

    Professor Roberts is an award-winning educator who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of medicine from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries.  Her classes explore medicine, natural history, and epistemology in the context of early modern empires, slavery, the Atlantic slave trade, and in African American history more broadly.  Professor Roberts’ teaching also blends history with medical sociology in order to explore present-day crises of race and health. 

    Professor Roberts received an M.A. and PhD from Harvard University, an M.A. from Andover Newton Theological School, and a B.A. from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

  • Naomi Rogers

    Professor in the History of Medicine and of History

    Naomi Rogers, Ph.D. is Professor of the History of Medicine in the Section of the History of Medicine and the Program in the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University where she regularly teaches undergraduates, graduate students, and medical students.Her historical interests include gender and health; disease and public health; disability; medicine and film; and alternative medicine/CAM.Her publications include Dirt and Disease: Polio before FDR (Rutgers, 1992), An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia (Rutgers, 1998) and Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine (Oxford, 2014). Her current book project examines critics of medical orthodoxy since 1945 (Health Activism and the Humanization of American Medicine under contract with Oxford).

    She has taught at Yale since the mid-1990s and is Professor of the History of Medicine in the Section of the History of Medicine at the Yale Medical School and in Yale University’s Program in the History of Science and Medicine, with courtesy appointments in the History Department and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

  • Jason L Schwartz

    Assistant Professor of Public Health (Health Policy), Assistant Professor in the History of Medicine, and Assistant Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies

    Jason L. Schwartz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale School of Public Health. He holds a secondary appointment in the Section of the History of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and is also affiliated with the Program in the History of Science and Medicine and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies. He has written widely on vaccines and vaccination programs, decision-making in federal and state health policy, and the structure and function of scientific expert advice to government. His general research interest is in the ways in which evidence is interpreted, evaluated, and translated into regulation and policy in medicine and public health.

    Schwartz's publications have appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Health Affairs, The American Journal of Public Health, The Milbank Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book manuscript, Medicine by Committee: Expert Advice and Health Care in Modern America, that examines the emergence, evolution, and continuing influence of expert advisory committees in American medicine and public health from the 1960s to the present, particularly regarding pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and screening technologies. This project is supported by the National Institutes of Health. Other current research projects examine how policy-makers, regulators, physicians, and patients evaluate and respond to the risks, benefits, and costs of medical interventions.

    Prior to arriving at Yale, Schwartz was the Harold T. Shapiro Fellow at the Princeton University Center for Human Values, and earlier, an Associate Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is a graduate of Princeton University, where he received an A.B. in classics, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science and a master's degree (MBE) in bioethics.

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  • John Warner

    Avalon Professor in the History of Medicine and Professor of American Studies and of History; Chair, History of Medicine (School of Medicine)

    John Harley Warner, a historian who focuses on the transnational history of medicine and science, received his Ph.D. in 1984 from Harvard University (History of Science), and from 1984-1986 was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London.

    In 1986 he joined the Yale faculty with a primary appointment in the School of Medicine, where he is now Avalon Professor and Chair of the Section of the History of Medicine with a fully split faculty appointment in the Department of History. He is a professor and core faculty member in the Yale University Program in the History of Medicine and Science. 

    His research interests include the cultural and social history of medicine in the United States from the early 19th century to the present, professional identity, education, clinical practice, the visual cultures of medicine, and transnational and transcultural comparison. 

    Current research centers on a book tentatively titled The Quest for Authenticity in Modern Medicine, which traces anxieties about what was being marginalized, lost, or placed at risk of being lost with the late-nineteenth century emergence of a new version of reductionist, laboratory-based scientific medicine, explores maneuvers of selective return and restoration from that time through the present.

History of Medicine Affiliates

  • Henry M Cowles

    Henry Cowles is an historian of modern medicine and science in the United States and Great Britain. His work focuses on how certain issues come to be understood as issues of mind and brain: how psychologists, psychiatrists, and others have addressed questions of choice, authority, spontaneity, consumption, and method since the nineteenth century. His research and teaching interests include scientific medicine, the sciences of mind and brain, evolutionary theory, and experimentation in science, medicine, and the arts. He has also written on the concept of extinction and on the history of philosophy and teaches a range of courses, including “Minds and Brains in Modern America,” “History of Addiction,” and “Medicine and the Human Sciences.” Recently, his work has been awarded the Walter D. Love Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies and the Emerging Scholars Prize of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association.

  • Deborah Doroshow

    Assistant Professor Adjunct; Academic Affiliate in the History of Medicine

    Debbie is a clinical fellow in Hematology/Oncology and an academic affiliate in the Section of the History of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.

    She graduated from Harvard College in 2004 with a B.A. in History and Science, where she wrote a senior thesis entitled "The Injection of Insulin Into American Psychiatry," which explored the history of insulin coma therapy for schizophrenia. It was awarded the Thomas Temple Hoopes Award for outstanding senior thesis, and a portion of it was subsequently published in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences.

    She earned her Ph.D. in History with distinction (concentration in the History of Science and Medicine) from Yale University in December 2012. Her dissertation, Emotionally Disturbed: Residential Treatment, Child Psychiatry, and the Creation of Normal Children in Mid-Twentieth Century America, was supervised by Naomi Rogers, Anne Harrington, John Warner, and Glenda Gilmore. It explores the history of residential and inpatient treatment for emotionally disturbed children in America from 1930 to 1980. It won the Edwin W. Small prize for outstanding dissertation in American history. While at Yale, Debbie also completed a study of bedwetting alarms in mid-twentieth century America which was published in Isis in June 2010.

    Debbie earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 2013. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine in 2015.  

    At the Yale Cancer Center, her research is focused on early phase clinical trials and lung cancer, focusing on DNA damage repair and epigenetics.  She is also conducting a study of financial toxicity in the Phase 1 clinical trials unit at Yale. In 2018, she spent two months at the NCI's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, where she was trained in early phase clinical trial design and worked with Dr. Percy Ivy on a project using novel graphical representations to aggregate and longitudinally present adverse events seen in early phase clinical trials.  Her mentors are Dr. Patricia LoRusso and Dr. Roy Herbst.

    Her book, Emotionally Disturbed: Caring for America's Troubled Children, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

  • Melissa Grafe

    John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History & Head of the Medical Historical Library

    In July 2011 I joined Yale as the John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History at the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library. I work with students and faculty on research, classes, grants and publications; manage the staff and collections for the Medical Historical Library; oversee major digitization projects; stage exhibitions in the Library; and handle donations, among other duties.

    I received my Ph.D in the History of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University in 2009.  I was a Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) postdoctoral fellow at Lehigh University Library followed by an appointment as the Humanities Librarian at Lehigh.