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Dominique Tobbell, Historian of Health Care in 20th c. America. March 2014


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Dominique Tobbell is a historian of health care, business, and politics in the 20th century United States with a particular interest in the history of pharmaceuticals, health policy, and nursing. She received her B.Sc. in biochemistry from the University of Manchester in 2001 and her M.A. and Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. Her first book, Pills, Power, and Policy: The Struggle for Drug Reform in Cold War America and its Consequences (University of California Press/Milbank Series on Health and the Public, 2012) describes how the American drug industry and key sectors of the medical profession came to be allies against federal reform, and details the political strategies used by that pharmaceutical-medical alliance to influence public opinion and shape legislative reform and the regulatory environment of prescription drugs after World War II. She is currently working on two book projects. The first, Educating Nurses: Knowledge, Politics, and the Making of the American Nursing Workforce after World War II, examines the history of nursing education reforms in the context of nursing workforce concerns after World War II. The second project, Delivering Care, Governing Health: Academic Health Centers and the States since World War II, documents the intersections of inter-professional and institutional politics and state health policymaking in the history of state-funded academic health centers after World War II. Her other work has focused on the role of academic and government researchers, biotechnology companies, and disease-based organizations in the development of drugs to treat rare diseases, so-called orphan drugs. She is also interested in post-war developments in the health professions and in health policy, and is the oral historian for the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center History Project.

Through the IAS, Tobbell participated in a Workshop on Oral History, a panel discussion of Why Future Research and Teaching Will Be Interdisciplinary, taught a course entitled Pharmaceutical Geographies, Pharmaceutical Economies, and was a convener of the 2013-14 Critical Science Studies Collective, which hosted several events.

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