Allan M. Brandt is the Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine and a professor of the history of science at Harvard University, where he holds a joint appointment between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School. His work focuses on historical and ethical aspects of health, disease, medical practices, and health policy in the 20th century.
As a fellow, Brandt is completing a book, “Enduring Stigma: Historical Perspectives on Disease Meanings and Their Impact.” The project utilizes historical and interdisciplinary approaches to examine the social, cultural, and political forces that have promoted and sustained the stigmatization of diseases. Despite concerted efforts to reduce the stigmas associated with disease over the past century—and especially in recent decades—stigma continues to cast a wide shadow over patients and is a major obstacle to medical and public health efforts. By investigating specific disease meanings (of cancer, HIV, mental illness, obesity, and others) and how they have changed, the project seeks to identify contemporary strategies and policies for the reduction of persistent stigmas.
Brandt received a Bancroft Prize from Columbia University and the William H. Welch Medal from the American Association for the History of Medicine for The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America (Basic Books, 2007). He earned his PhD at Columbia University and has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.