RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Public Health, History
Area(s) of Expertise:
History of Public Health, Racial/Ethnic Disparities, Immigration, Community Health Movements, Health Services Research, Environmental/Occupational Health
Merlin Chowkwanyun’s work centers on three
themes: the history of public health and health policy; racial inequality; and social movements. His dissertation examined the development of post-WWII medical care and environmental health hazards in four regions (Los Angeles, Cleveland, Central Appalachia, and New York). He is working on another book about political unrest at medical schools and neighborhood health activism during the 1960s and 1970s. With Adolph Reed, he is writing a book that questions the dominant theoretical assumptions and frames in ‘racial’disparities research (under contract, University of California Press).. With the Center for Public Integrity, he is working with a group of environmental health journalists and historians on a database featuring thousands of previously unseen corporate documents that have emerged in recent environmental health lawsuits. (More information is available at toxicdocs.org) Merlin received his Ph.D.-M.P.H. in History and Public Health at the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. He received his B.A. in History and Sociology from Columbia University. In Fall 2015, Merlin will be an Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and a member of its Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health.