Amy L. Fairchild, Ph.D.

Dr. Fairchild is associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences and assistant director for scholarly and academic affairs at the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is a historian researching the broad social forces that produce disease and shape public health policy and a public health policy analyst focused on dilemmas in the ethics and politics of contemporary debates. Guided by the understanding that history and policy do not simply represent two different worlds, she fuses these frameworks of analysis, crafting a new, historically grounded way of thinking critically about problems in a professional field.

Her work’s central intellectual theme has been to explore the functions and limits of the State, particularly when it seeks to address health issues that touch on groups marginalized by virtue of disease, class, and race. Fairchild’s book, Science at the Borders is a revisionist history uncovering the ways that the machinery of processing unskilled immigrant laborers at the nation’s borders in the early 1900’s helped to define inclusion into industrial citizenship, the state, and social power. Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State and Disease Surveillance in America, focuses on policy challenges that arise when it becomes necessary to report the names of individuals with disease. Written with Ronald Bayer and James Colgrove, Searching Eyes sets controversies over surveillance for diseases and conditions, including tuberculosis, venereal disease, birth defects, occupational disease, cancer, vaccination status, and HIV against the backdrop of the changing social, political, and personal meanings of privacy.

Dr. Fairchild received her MPH and PhD from Columbia University. She teaches a History and Policy seminar and co-teaches the Department’s core course. In 2003, she was the recipient of Columbia University's Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Ronald Bayer, Ph.D.

Dr. Bayer is professor of Sociomedical Sciences and co-director of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where he has taught for over 15 years. Prior to coming to Columbia, he was at the Hastings Center, a research institute devoted to the study of ethical issues in medicine and the life sciences. Bayer's research has examined ethical and policy issues in public health. His empirical work has focused especially on AIDS, tuberculosis, illicit drugs, and tobacco. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), serves on its Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and has served on IOM committees dealing with the social impact of AIDS, tuberculosis elimination, vaccine safety, smallpox vaccination and the Ryan White Care Act. Ronald Bayer was trained in political science (Ph.D.) at the University of Chicago (1976).

His articles on AIDS have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Lancet, the American Journal of Public Health, and The Milbank Quarterly. His books include Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (1981), Private Acts, Social Consequences: AIDS and the Politics of Public Health (1989); AIDS in the Industrialized Democracies: Passions, Politics and Policies (1991, edited with David Kirp); Confronting Drug Policy: Illicit Drugs in a Free Society (1993, edited with Gerald Oppenheimer); and Blood Feuds: Blood, AIDS and the Politics of Medical Disaster (1999, edited with Eric Feldman); AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic, (2000, written with Gerald Oppenheimer), Mortal Secrets: Truth and Lies in the Age of AIDS (2003, written with Robert Klitzman) and Unfiltered: Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health (2004, Harvard University Press, edited with Eric Feldman).