Dominique Tobbell

Associate Professor Director of HMed Program

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, History and Sociology of Science, 2008
Dissertation: “Pharmaceutical Networks: The Political Economy of Drug Development in
the United States, 1945-1980”

Medical School 612-626-5114 Website

History of health care and health policy, pharmaceuticals, nursing, medical technology, business history, and oral history

I am 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. I received my B.Sc. in biochemistry from the University of Manchester in 2001 and my M.A. and Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. My 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. I am 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. My 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. I am also interested in post-war developments in the health professions and in health policy, and am the oral historian for the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center History Project. In addition to my academic interests, I train, coach, and compete in judo at Midway Judo Club and hold the rank of sandan (third-degree black belt).



McKnight Land Grant Professorship, University of Minnnesota, 2012-2014.

J. Worth Estes Prize, 2013. Awarded for ““Bioequivalence: The Regulatory Career of a Pharmaceutical Concept.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2011) 85(1): 93-131 (with Daniel P. Carpenter).

Stanley Jackson Prize, 2011. Awarded for “Who’s Winning the Human Race?” Cold War as Pharmaceutical Political Strategy,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2009) 64(4): 429-473.

Selected publications:

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).

 “‘Coming to Grips with the Nursing Question’: The Politics of Nursing Education Reform in 1960s’ America.” Nursing History Review (2014) 22: 37-60.

“Plow, Town, and Gown: The Politics of Family Practice in 1960s’ America.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2013) 87(4): 648-680.

“Pharmaceutical Politics and Regulatory Reform in Post-War America,” in Julian Zelizer and Kimberly Philips-Fein (eds.), What’s Good for Business: Business and Politics Since World War II (Oxford University Press, 2012).

“‘Eroding the Physician’s Control Over Therapy’: The Post-War Politics of the Prescription,” in Elizabeth Watkins and Jeremy Greene (eds.) Prescribed: Writing, Filling, Using, and Abusing the Prescription in Modern America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).

“Bioequivalence: The Regulatory Career of a Pharmaceutical Concept,” with Daniel P. Carpenter, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2011) 85(1): 93-131.



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University of California Press