Jennifer Gunn

Associate Professor, History of Medicine


I am a historian of 19th- and 20th-century medicine, interested in the historical intersections of health, medicine, biology, social sciences, institutions, and public policy. Integrative approaches have been central to my education: I earned my B.A. from Hampshire College and my M.A. and Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania (1997). I am working on a book that addresses the significance of place and practice in American medicine by exploring the history of rural health and medicine in the Upper Midwest, 1900-1955. In addition, I have done extensive research on the history of population studies and demography in the interwar period, and on the history of philanthropy. The University of Minnesota offers a wealth of opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration. I have been involved with initiatives around interprofessional, community-based education, the history of the unit formerly known as the Academic Health Center, and the historical organization of medical care. Within the larger university, I am working with faculty on four campuses in History of Science and Technology, History, Anthropology, Global Studies, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Public Health (among others) on projects related to health humanities, biomedicine, global philanthropy, the human in (big) data, and environmental and social issues.

19th and 20th century US History of Medicine and Public Health, Rural History or Rural Studies, History of Social Sciences

Research Summary

Selected Publications:

President's Award for Outstanding Service, 2021

‘Democracy Trains its Microscope’ on public health: intergovernmental relations, competing publics, and negotiations at the grassroots. In Mold, Alex, Peder Clark, and Hannah Elizabeth, eds. Publics and Their Health: Historical Perspectives (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2023).

Meeting Rural Health Needs: Interprofessional Practice or Public Health? Nursing History Review 24(2016): 1-9.

Silos and Synergies: Considering the History of Interprofessional Education and Practice in the United States. Nursing History Review 24(2016): 1-4.

Back to the Future: Minnesota's Rural Health Workforce Shortages. Minnesota Medicine 96 (2013): 41-45.

Compromising Positions: A Story of Early 20th-Century Occupational Medicine on Minnesota’s Iron Range. Minnesota Medicine 90 (2007): 34-39.

‘The First Adequate Graduate School of Medicine in America.’ Minnesota Medicine 86(2003): 63-68.

"A Few Good Men: the Rockefellers and Population Studies." Pp. 97-114 in The Development of the Social Sciences in the U.S. and Canada: the Role of Philanthropy, eds. Theresa Richardson and Donald Fisher (Stamford, CT: Ablex Publishing, 1999).

"Factory Work for Doctors: The Early Years of the Section on Industrial Medicine and Public Health of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia." Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia Series V 17 (1995): 61-93.




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Administrative Contact

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