Elena Conis is a historian of medicine and public health. Her research focuses on the history of disease prevention, medical research, and the relationship between environmental movements and health in the twentieth- and twenty first-century United States.

Her first book, Vaccine Nation: America's Changing Relationship with Immunization (University of Chicago Press, 2014), was excerpted by The Atlantic and Salon, named a book of the week by Nature and Times Higher Education, and awarded the Arthur J. Viseltear Prize by the American Public Health Association. She is currently working on a second book, on the history of the pesticide DDT, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, where she is a Cain Fellow for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Prior to joining the History Department, Dr. Conis was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Emory's Anthropology Department, a senior fellow in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory, and an award-winning health columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Follow her on Twitter at @elenaconis.

Selected Journal Articles:

Conis, E. "A Mother's Responsibility: Women, Medicine, and the Rise of Contemporary Vaccine Skepticism in the U.S." Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 87.3 (2013): 407-435.

Conis, E. "Do We Really Need Hepatitis B on the Second Day of Life?; Vaccination Mandates and Shifting Representations of Hepatitis B." Journal of Medical Humanities 32.2 (2011): 155-166.

Conis, E. "Debating the Health Effects of DDT: Thomas Jukes, Charles Wurster, and the Fate of an Environmental Pollutant." Public Health Reports 125.2 (2010): 337-342.


Vaccines and Society
Drugs and American Culture
Opium to Obamacare: The Pursuit of Health in the United States
Health, Environment, and Civil Rights
Politics and Health in the 20th Century U.S.
Health and the Humanities
Disease and the City: A History of Health in Paris


PhD, University of California, San Francisco
MJ, University of California, Berkeley
MS, University of California, Berkeley
BA, Columbia University

Current Graduate Students