Alumni (National Fellow)

Merlin Chowkwanyun

National Fellow
B.A. Columbia University in the City of New York (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 is the Donald H. Gemson Assistant Professor Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. 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

Connect with our community

View Alumni



The Foundation supports world-class graduate students through Jefferson Fellowships and National Fellowships.

Read more


The Jefferson Scholarship and the Walentas Scholarship are the premier undergraduate scholarships at the University of Virginia.

Read more

Distinguished Professorships

Learn more about the Foundation’s Professorship Program.

Read more