top of page







"we tell complicated stories about the past but the

result is that those who make policy {...} tend to ignore us” 

-Susan Reverby


My primary goal as a historian of medicine is to research and write stories that matter. I’m inspired by the work of Susan Reverby, who notes that “we tell complicated stories about the past, but the result is that those who make policy . . . tend to ignore us.” They create the histories they want, “finding safety in uncomplicated historical narratives.”  How then, can we write about the past which allows for the diversity of experience, the shifting concerns and strategies that shaped our history, our bodies, our minds, our health?  And further, how can we get policymakers to listen to our stories?  Embracing the tensions and complications embedded in history can enhance and enrich our understanding of the past and our dreams for the future.  If we can tell these stories effectively and clearly, I believe people will listen.


I am the author of several articles and three books that focus on controversies

surrounding women’s reproductive health. I have also published five op-ed pieces in the Washington Post related to my research. I have been awarded two major fellowships for my current project on the use of psychedelics in psychiatric practice: a six-month British Academy Fellowship in Glasgow (June-December 2018) and a Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship at the University of Birmingham (Sept-December 2019.)

I have appeared on national television and radio, most recently on the PBS documentary, American Experience (the Eugenics Crusade), as well as the Vox/Netflix documentary, “Sex, Explained.”  I am also an advanced open water SCUBA diver and a professional violinist with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra.


After fourteen years as a professor of U.S. history at the University of Cincinnati, I headed to Purdue University, where I was appointed the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine at Purdue University in August of 2014.  At Purdue, I created and direct the Medical Humanities Certificate program, teach classes on the history of medicine and public health, and continue an active research agenda now focused on the history of LSD research.  




Purdue University College of Liberal Arts Excellence in

Discovery and Creative Endeavors Award, 2020

Fulbright Distinguished Chair, 2019-2020, University of Birmingham, U.K.

British Academy Fellow, 2018-2019, University of Strathclyde, U.K.

Purdue Policy Research Institute Excellence in Research Award, 2018

William E. Hewit Distinguished Professor, University of Northern Colorado, 2016

Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, 2014-present

bottom of page