Keith Wailoo is jointly appointed in the Department of History and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His research and teaching examine the history and ongoing evolution of health and health policy in America -- focusing on changing disease concepts, medical and public health practices, drug controversies, and social and cultural meanings of health. Over his career, he has taught on the history of drugs and drug policy, genetics and society, and a wide range of other social and cultural issues in health care. Before joining the Princeton faculty, he taught in History and in Social Medicine (in the Medical School at UNC Chapel Hill), and at Rutgers University where (affiliated with History and with the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research). Wailoo holds a Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering from Yale University.
Professor Wailoo's books examine a wide array of issues in public health, scientific and technological innovation in medical care, medical specialization, and the role of identity, gender, race and ethnicity in health and disease thought. These include: How Cancer Crossed the Color Line (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2011); The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine: Ethnicity and Innovation in Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) which received the Association of American Publishers book award in History of Science; Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health (University of North Carolina, 2001) which received the Lillian Smith Book Award for Non-Fiction work elucidating questions of racial justice and inequality, the William H. Welch Medal for best book in the history of medicine, awarded by the American Association for the History of Medicine, the Susanne Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, the American Political Science Association Award for Best Book published in the area of Public Policies, Social and Legal Dimensions of Ethnic and Racial Politics in the U.S., and the Community Service Award by the Sickle Cell/Thalassemia Patient Network; and Drawing Blood: Technology and Disease Identity in Twentieth Century America (Hopkins, 1997) which received the Arthur Viseltear Award from the American Public Health Association.
A researcher with extensive cross-disciplinary interests, Wailoo has organized and edited many studies aimed at drawing experts together from across the disciplinary spectrum to deepen our understanding of contemporary health policy issues. His edited books include: A Death Retold: Jesica Santillan, the Bungled Transplant, and Paradoxes of Medical Citizenship (UNC Press, 2006), a multi-disciplinary analysis of an infamous medical error leading to the death of an undocumented immigrant girl at Duke University Medical Center in 2003; Katrina’s Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America (Rutgers University Press, 2010), a study of what the events in New Orleans reveal about the nature of vulnerability, resilience, and recovery; Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine's Simple Solutions (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), an examination of the cultural, scientific, and political turmoil that has emerged recently around the marketing, use, mandating of Human Papillomavirus vaccines for girls--in the name of cervical cancer prevention; Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming) which examines the implications of new genetics for reshaping ideas about race and the past, as manifested in medicine, in the courts, and in the genealogy business. Wailoo is also at work on a history of drugs, drug policies, and drug controversies, and is completing a book on the history and politics of pain medicine in America.
He has published articles in the British medical journal Lancet, in the Bulletin for the History of Medicine, in the Journal for the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. In 2007, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, one of the U.S. National Academies where he is also a member of the Health Sciences Policy Board. He served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Increasing Rates of Organ Donation, contributing to its 2006 report, Organ Donation: Opportunities for Action. Over the years, his research has been supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund.