I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas, Arlington. I received my PhD in Government from Cornell University. My research places the study of public policy within the broader context of American political development and international engagement. My work has appeared in Studies in American Political Development (“War, Tropical Disease, and the Emergence of National Public Health Capacity in the United States”) and in the American Journal of Public Health (“Eliminating Malaria in the American South”). My research on malaria was featured in a piece on NPR’s Morning Edition. I am currently working on a book project, titled Southern Maladies: Disease, the South, and the Making of Modern American Health Policy. The book is about the interconnected histories of public health and private medicine. Its goal is to offer a new perspective on the development and foundations of American health policy. The central question that I ask is why the United States created a strong national system of public health, in the form of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while rejecting a comparable approach in the field of private medicine. An extensive literature has attempted to explain why the United States does not have a national health insurance system like those of Europe. No previous study, however, has considered the development of America’s unique system of health care from the perspective of both public health and private medicine. I show that the unique health problems that the American South faced during the first decades of the twentieth century, including malaria, hookworm, and pellagra, were critical in shaping the foundations of American health policy. With strong southern political support, federal public health workers built a system that endures today. The division of American health policy into separate preventive and curative realms, I argue, was far from inevitable. Indeed, for the men who built the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, separating health into separate “public” and “private” realms was a misguided and dangerous endeavor. Understanding why they succeeded in building a national system for coordinating preventive efforts while failing in their goals for curative medicine, I show, is critical to understanding the successes and failings of health policy in the modern United States.

  • 2010 - PhD in American Politics, Cornell University
  • 2008 - MA in American Politics and Political Theory, Cornell University
  • 2003 - BA in Political Science, Indiana University

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