Keith Wailoo: Elected to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine

Historians in the News

An Ivy League education, a list of literary accomplishments and a professorship all contribute to Keith Wailoo's impressive resume. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences decided to add another achievement.

Wailoo, a professor of history at the University, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine.

"I think I know why my work is important," Wailoo said. "It is significant because I'm a historian who deals with and writes about contemporary issues."

The Institute of Medicine is unique for its structure as both a membership organization for honoring scholars and an advisory organization, said Christine Stencel, the institute's media relations officer.

The institute was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences. Since then, it has become recognized as a resource for objective scientific analysis and recommendations on human health issues, Stencel said.

"It's a major award. There are four of these national bodies. Only the most distinguished faculty members get recognized for them," said Professor Paul Clemens, the associate chair of the history department. "This is particularly nice because it gives people a chance to be heard by congressional committees. It will give him a chance to be heard."

The award is a distinction for both Wailoo and for the University as a whole because it commands national recognition, Clemens said.

Clemens lauded Wailoo's impact on historical and scientific debates.

"He is a remarkably well-published scholar who has contributed to debates for crucial questions. He has taken a stand and his research is both historical and policy-oriented," Clemens said. "He writes about the history of medicine and has brought wisdom to these topics. He is the ideal person for an honor like this."

Wailoo currently teaches a course called Drugs, Medicine and Society in America at the University. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in chemical engineering and received his graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in the history and sociology of science. ...
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