Alumni (National Fellow)

Merlin Chowkwanyun

National Fellow
B.A. Columbia University (2005)
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (2011)
M.P.H. University of Pennsylvania (2012)
Dream Mentor:
Nancy Langston
Michigan Technological University
Fields of Interest:
African American History
American Political Development
Healthcare Policy
Public Health
Social Issues
Urban History


Merlin Chowkwanyun’s work centers on the history of community health; environmental health regulation; racial inequality; and social movement/activism around health. He is working on a book examining localism and health politics in the post-WWII, using case studies on medical care and environmental health controversies in four regions (Los Angeles, Cleveland, Central Appalachia, and New York) and another about political unrest at medical schools and neighborhood health activism during the 1960s and 1970s. He is also the PI (co-PI David Rosner) on a recent National Science Foundation Standard Research Grant for ToxicDocs.org, a depository of millions of pages of once-secret documents on industrial poisons. He is affiliated with the Department of History and a faculty member of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health and the Data Science Institute.

Thesis Description:

The Dilemmas of ’Community Health’: 1945-2000

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