The UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Amy Fairchild, PhD, MPH as a Visiting Scholar.
Dr. Fairchild is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University. She is also the Assistant Director for Scholarly and Academic Affairs in their Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health.
Dr. Fairchild is a historian researching the broad social forces that produce disease and shape public health policy and a public health policy analyst focused on dilemmas in the ethics and politics of contemporary debates. Guided by the understanding that history and policy do not simply represent two different worlds, she fuses these frameworks of analysis, crafting a new, historically grounded way of thinking critically about problems in a professional field. Her work's central intellectual theme has been to explore the functions and limits of the State, particularly when it seeks to address health issues that touch on groups marginalized by virtue of disease, class, and race.
Dr. Fairchild's book, Science at the Borders is a revisionist history uncovering the ways that the machinery of processing unskilled immigrant laborers at the nation's borders in the early 1900's helped to define inclusion into industrial citizenship, the state, and social power. Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State and Disease Surveillance in America focuses on policy challenges that arise when it becomes necessary to report the names of individuals with disease. Written with Ronald Bayer and James Colgrove, Searching Eyes sets controversies over surveillance for diseases and conditions, including tuberculosis, venereal disease, birth defects, occupational disease, cancer, vaccination status, and HIV against the backdrop of the changing social, political, and personal meanings of privacy.
While at the Institute, Dr. Fairchild will be working on “Community and Confinement: The Evolving Experience of Isolation for Leprosy in Carville, Louisiana,” which considers patients' role in shaping a federal institution from 1920 through 1950 as their sense of themselves as a community grew and then faded.