History of Health Science Students

2017/2018 Cohort

Hsinyi Hsieh BA in Sociology & Chinese Literature from National Chengchi University and MA in Sociology from National Taiwan University

How do you envision your research having a real world impact that will promote health? My goal is to both produce and mobilize knowledge as the basis for further health reform in Asian countries. By examining the historical trajectory of the growing commercialization in immunological health treatments, I am eager to make the public more aware of the commercialized medicine which emphasizing the profits over patients; health care. Please list and describe previous or current funding: UCSF Graduate Dean’s Multi-Year Fellowship What are your future professional aspirations? After completing the doctoral program, I plan to seek a teaching and research position in a research or academic institution where I can discover, produce, communicate, and challenge knowledge in the history of medicine and health sciences. In addition, pursuing an academic career in the future would also allow me to bring fresh East Asian perspectives for countries across the world.

Research Areas of Interest: My academic interests lie at the intersection of three fields: the social history of science, medicine, and knowledge. I am especially interested in the dynamic process surrounding dust mite health problems—including commercialization, knowledge formation, and risk governance—in the historical contexts of East Asia and the United States.

Aaron J. Jackson BA in History, Metropolitan University of Denver, 2012 and MA in History, CSU Sacramento, 2017

How do you envision having a real world impact that will promote health? It took more than a century to develop the modern diagnosis and understanding of PTSD as thousands of soldiers exposed to the horrors of modern warfare exhibited symptoms that baffled physicians in Word War I, yet the experiences of various soldiers in that same timeframe remain in many ways quite similar -- the symptoms and soldiers remained the same across various wars and various battlefields, but the medical terminology, framework, and treatment changed and affected policy as it did so. Understanding how medical opinion and policy affected and continue to affect military, social, and political decisions regarding veterans can be immensely useful in informing a mindful approach to the practice of medicine and medical policy moving forward.

Research Areas of Interest: My experience in the military remains one of the most profound influences in my life and strongly shapes my research interests. I want to explore veterans health issues -- how they have been addressed, how they influenced the civilian side of medicine (and vice versa), and how they shape policy moving forward. Whether exploring the origins pf the now-familiar post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or understanding how the need to support the troops over time evolved into the Veterans Administration, it is unquestionable that the American veteran is intrinsically linked to American health care.

Antoine S. Johnson BA and MA in History, CSU Sacramento

How do you envision your research having a real world impact that will promote health? Hip-hop culture was created as a form of resistance. Since it has been commercialized and many artists equate success with profit-making potential, hip-hop has promoted crass consumerism, violence, and misogyny. Returning hip-hop to its natural element of resistance and public health concerns could inspire aspiring artists to use their platforms advancing more positive images. What are your future professional aspirations? History has allowed me to connect the past with the present, showing that both are always connected. In addition to teaching, which is a dream of mine, I envision myself creating research that inspires future historians to use their creativity to give a voice to voiceless people. I abhorred history until my undergraduate years because of the common-core curriculum I experienced throughout public school. One day, I plan on opening m own community center in my hometown, comprised of history classes, tutoring, and extracurricular activities that keeps young people away from violence and expands their creativity.

Research Areas of Interest: Hip-hop culture and the Black Panther Party have played pivotal roles in my life, especially regarding African Americans well-being. The Black Panther Party was officially terminated in 1982 but became defunct in the early 1970s. Coincidentally, hip hop was born in 1973. I want to examine the cultural shift in black communities from the Panthers demise to hip hops ascension. The intersections of race, class, and gender played profound roles in African Americans health, especially with the rise of crack cocaine and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Exploring African Americans resistance to unfair health treatment in the last quarter of the twentieth century through a cultural lens could answer questions that still resonate today.

2015/2016 Cohort

Cristina Nigro MS in Neurosciences from UC San Diego, BA, Biological Basis of Behavior, University of Pennsylvania

I am honored to be a scholar studying the interactions between science and society at UCSF, an institution at the forefront of biomedical research. I am interested in uncovering how scientific data embodies cultural values and the reciprocal relationship between basic experimental neuroscience outcomes, patients’ disease experience, and scholars’ approach to understanding disease. I hope to contribute to a more comprehensive historical understanding of mental illnesses and neurodegenerative disorders so that we might change for the better how we conceptualize, experience, and treat diseases. I am interested in how the cultural meaning of disease changes over time. My work will explore how changing meanings of “normal” brain functioning are shaped by evolving notions of how the brain encodes information and represents knowledge, which correspondingly affects ideas about “abnormal” brain functioning in disease. I aim to understand how ideas from neuroscientific research on memory, perception, and machine-learning shape our cultural perception of intelligence and the concept of the ideal human brain. I aspire to an academic professorship in which I train future scholars and conduct research that can help inform policy with a social justice aim.

Research Areas of Interest: How changing notions of self-identity and individual responsibility coincided with increasing reliance on neuro-explanations and helped transform the meanings of psychiatric and neurological disabilities in the 20th century U.S.

2013/2014 Cohort

Sara Rhiannon Robertson BA, Communication, and BA, History, North Carolina State University

How do you envision your research having a real world impact that will promote health? I want my research to foster an understanding of the technological, legal, and cultural factors that impact perceptions of therapeutic efficacy as it pertains to plants. But also, I hope that the history of plants in regular medicine garners a renewed research interest with the therapeutic potential of plants. Please list and describe previous or current funding: Earle C. Anthony Fellowship, 2016-2017, Earle C. Anthony Fellowship, 2014-2015, What are your future professional aspirations? I want to write history for a general audience. I plan to do further research and writing on the historical uses of plants in medicine. Focusing a new project on the pharmaceutical industry, I want to consider historical research in the field and in the lab; from sending researchers out to learn the remedies used by indigenous communities in various regions of the world; to contemporary efforts of developing plant-focused pharmaceutical biotech. I also aim to do historical consulting for media, museums, and archives.

Research Areas of Interest: My research interests largely center on the history of pharmacy. I am also interested in the history of the side effect and taking health risks as part of medical treatment. My dissertation traces the transformative presence of plants as medicaments in allopathic American medicine since the nineteenth century.

Margaret (Meg) Vigil-Fowler BA in History and English, University of Denver; MA in History, Boston University

How do you envision your research having a real world impact that will promote health? My research traces a persistent desire among early African American women physicians to address what we now term "health disparities" in their communities, which contnue to plague communities of color in the United States. Research suggests "concordance", or matching patients with providers from a similar racial or ethnic background, improves the quality of care people of color receive in medical settings. The number of African American women physicians remains small, and African American women continue to suffer disproportionate adverse health outcomes. My research demonstrates the significant role African American women physicians played in improving their communities and emphasizes the need for a diverse medical workforce. Please list and describe previous or current funding? Gloeckner Fellowship, Drexel University Legacy Center Archives & Special Collections, 2017-18 This fellowship allowed me to access the Black Women's Physician Project, a collection housed at Drexel University College of Medicine dedicated to documenting the history of black women physicians who practiced throughout the United States, and the archives of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, which trained many of the African American physicians who practiced in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. What are your future professional aspirations? I hope to write historical scholarship for popular audiences as a means of engaging with the general public and providing a longer context for current social and political issues. Additionally, I would like to work in diversity outreach to increase the number of first generation and minority students in higher education.

Research Areas of Interest: My dissertation investigates the history of African American women physicians from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. As this topic suggests, my research interests include the histories of race, women and gender and how these categories intersect and interact with medicine, as well as the history of medical professionalization. I originally trained as an historian of Britain and Empire and maintain broad interests in Anglo-American transnational and comparative histories, particularly regarding medical professionals' relationships to and roles in their respective states.

Last modified: October 2, 2017