Doctoral Students

Richard Adjei

Richard joined the PhD programme in the History of Medicine in 2022. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, and a Master of Science Degree in African Studies from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, earning them in 2017 and 2020, respectively. His undergraduate and master’s dissertations focused on the history of medical pluralism and medical systems in Ghana, where he studied the history of traditional medicine, particularly its relationship with the State and interactions with Western biomedicine. For his PhD, Richard is researching on the nexus between social change and the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases in Ghana, focusing on stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. He is also interested in the political economy of health and diseases in West in Africa.

Leigh Alon

Leigh is an MD/PhD student at Johns Hopkins University in the department of the history of medicine. She has a B.A. in biology from the University of Chicago and before attending graduate school worked in HIV prevention at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination. She is interested broadly in human subject research, pediatric psychopharmacology, eugenics, genomics, identity formation, and Jewish genetics.

Carter Barnett

Carter studies the history of medical institutions in the 19th/20th-century Middle East. He received his BA in History and Arabic from Baylor University and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2022, he joined the History of Medicine doctoral program. His MA thesis examined the ambivalent interaction between missionary medicine and Palestinian society, politics and law. His present research takes interest in the history of (post)colonial medical institutions in the Middle East, focusing on the intersections between religion, international health organizations and changing medical practices.

Kristin Brig

Kristin received a BA in history in 2015 as well as an MA in history in 2017 from the College of Charleston. Her past research has explored the history of smallpox vaccination in the nineteenth-century British Empire with a particular interest in how vaccine production, distribution, and implementation affected relationships at local, colonial, and global levels. She is currently interested in clean water supply and access in the nineteenth-century Cape Colony and Natal, especially the intersection of water shortages, contamination, and social/cultural tensions in port cities. She is more broadly interested in the racial and class dynamics of public health in British Africa.

Emily Clark

Emily received her B.A. in History from the University of Arizona in 2015 before joining the History of Medicine doctoral program at Johns Hopkins in 2016. She specializes in the study of women, gender, and sexuality in the early modern Atlantic world, with a focus on reproductive and racialized medicine. Her dissertation examines the working and intimate lives of enslaved, poor, and servant women in colonial New England, incorporating histories of the body, labor, sexuality, and race.

Kloe Freeman

Kloe received her BS in Biology with a minor in Latin American Studies from Samford University in 2018. In her BS, she spent equal time engaged with the humanities  because of her minor, which led her to history of medicine as a way to merge both passions. Prior to beginning at Johns Hopkins, she worked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital in the Gastrointestinal Surgery department in clinical trials research. While there, she also worked on health disparities and outcomes projects concerning health literacy, as well as enhanced recovery (ERAS) protocols. Researching, and seeing, health disparities through health literacy at the clinical level and its connection to racial disparities in surgical outcomes inspired her current research. Broadly speaking, she is interested in the history of health disparities for minority groups, the patient-physician relationship, and the influences race, gender, and paternalism have on these subjects.

Sofia Grant

Sofia joined the History of Medicine PhD program in Fall 2023. She is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and received a B.A. in Anthropology, Humanities, and Neuroscience from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she wrote an honors thesis that combined perspectives from anthropology and narratology to analyze the portrayal of diagnosis on two medical shows. Sofia is interested in a variety of topics in the history of medicine, but plans to specialize in the study of twentieth-century American biomedicine. Some of her current research interests include the history of diagnosis, autoimmune diseases, chronic and contested illnesses, doctor-patient relationships, illness narratives, and the intersections between the history of medicine, medical anthropology, and STS.

Michael Healey

Michael received his BA in biology and public health from the University of Rochester in 2016 as part of their early medical scholars program. After matriculating into medical school, he became increasingly interested in health policy and the medical humanities, and eventually decided to take leave to study the history of medicine. Broadly speaking, Michael is interested in how the evolution of psychiatric nosology reflects broader philosophical and sociopolitical trends. He is currently studying the intellectual history of dementia praecox and schizophrenia, focusing on how Adolf Meyer and his colleagues adapted these diagnostic categories to promote various changes in psychiatric theory and practice. After completing his PhD, Michael will return to Rochester to finish his undergraduate medical education and apply to residencies in psychiatry. Ultimately, he hopes that his historical research will inform both his clinical work and political advocacy.

Jessica Hester

Jessica is a second-year in the PhD program in history of medicine. She received a B.A. in English and gender studies from the University of Chicago and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Hunter College. A professional journalist mainly focused on science, her work has appeared in The Atlantic, New Yorker, New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Atlas Obscura, and, more. Bloomsbury published her first book, Sewer, in 2022. At Hopkins, Jessica’s research interests include the classed, gendered, and racialized dimensions of grave-robbing, medical education, and the exhibition of human remains in 19th-century Philadelphia. She is interested in the long afterlives of medical collections, including displaying, interpreting, and deaccessioning or returning medical specimens from the mid-1800s to the present day.

Yemok Jeon

Yemok’s research examines the pivotal role of health in Cold War national security within transpacific regions. Holding B.A. and M.A. degrees in History from Hanyang University in South Korea, he investigates global health dynamics across the conventional borders of the “Communist Camp” and the “Free World,” encompassing topics such as health insurance, biological warfare, and atomic bomb casualties at both elite and grassroots levels.

His research interests have been shaped by his transpacific experiences. In Korea, with funding from the National Health Insurance Service in Korea, he researched the history of health insurance and public hospitals at the Preventive Medicine Department of the College of Medicine in Hanyang. In the U.S., he proposed global health policies concerning North Korea as a Korea Foundation Junior Scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C., financially backed by the KF.

Yemok actively engages with the public through educational and creative projects, including appearances on historical TV shows and the production of Hip-Hop rap music.

Alexander Parry

Alex received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.A. from the Literary and Cultural Studies program at the University of Oklahoma. His current project examines the histories of home accidents and U.S. consumer product safety from 1920 to 1980. His dissertation charts how the voluntary safety system of education, markets for “safe” goods, and nonstate product testing sought to protect citizen-consumers from injuries and its long-term effects on public health and federal regulation. This work has received funding from the National Science Foundation; Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Linda Hall Library; and Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. Alex has published with the Journal of the History of BiologyIsis (forthcoming), and the Washington Post.

SJ Zanolini

SJ Zanolini specializes in both the history and practice of Chinese medicine. They earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.A. in Chinese Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an M.S. in East Asian Medicine from Dongguk University at Los Angeles. Clinically, SJ resists narrow specialization while remaining most interested in conditions with varied symptomatology, periodicity, or that otherwise layer, or defy, biomedical explanation. Academically, their research interests encompass the relationship between diet and healing in medical practice, geographic and seasonal determinants of health and illness treatment, and the interplay between medical, religious, elite, and popular ideas in Chinese history. Their master’s thesis used close reading to historically and intellectually situate a set of 7th century medical manuscripts preserved in the Silk Road town of Dunhuang, China. They are currently researching how newly introduced food crops become incorporated into existing understandings of the medicinal actions of foods in the 16th and 17th centuries.