David K. Rosner

Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, (History of Medicine and Public Health), Mailman School of Public Health and Department of History

Director, Center for the History of Public Health

Faculty Fellow, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy


David Rosner is Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Science and Professor of History at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Center for the History of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science) in 2010.

Dr. Rosner’s early work centered on the history of hospitals and medicine and became a standard text that has defined the field of hospital history. More recently, his work has centered on the history of occupational and environmental health. The books and articles he wrote have been integrated into a variety policy debates over the future of the public and voluntary hospital systems, environmental justice, and occupational risk and have been noted in law review articles, legislative hearings, legal proceedings, as well as the academic literature.

Dr. Rosner’s eleven books and scores of articles have been influential in a number of national and international legislative and legal decisions regarding industrial safety and environmental health, health policy and race relations. Most recently, he has published Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of ameirca’s Children as well as a number of articles in Health Affairs, the amrican Journal of Puvblic Health and elsewhere on lead poisoning, asbestos, and chlorinated hydrocarbons among other issues affecting children, workers and families. He has been awarded numerous prizes, including a Congressional Certificate of Appreciation for his work on environmental disease. The 2005 edition of his book, Deadly Dust, co-authored with Dr. Gerald Markowitz, was one of the major stimuli of a five year, international study of mining and health standards through collaboration with the Agence National Francais, the French equivalent of the National Science Foundation. This collaboration brings together experts from countries around the world to discuss the variety of historical factors that have shaped international policies regarding silicosis, a deadly lung disease affecting worker in a host of industries. In its earlier edition, this book led to the bringing together of over 600 public health, industry and governmental experts from the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Mining Safety and Health Administration and elsewhere in a National Conference on Silicosis in Washington. This conference led to the Secretary of Labor to identify silicosis as a disease that should be eliminated in the coming years and the banning of certain dangerous practices in a variety of industries.

He is currently working on two major projects:one investigates the implications of lowered blood lead levels on ethical and political concerns regarding lead abatement programs. The other is a book tentatively titled Building the Worlds the Kills Us: A History of Our Industrialism World and Its Impact on Our Health.   

Professor Rosner's Departmental Biography Page

dr289_DavidRosner150x180_0.jpg David K. Rosner
Department of Sociomedical Sciences
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