Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health


Alexandra Minna Stern, Ph.D.

Phone: (734) 232-4976
Fax: (734) 763-1460
Office: Dept of American Culture, 3700 Haven Hall

Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of American Culture, Department of History
Program in Sexual Rights and Reproductive Justice
University of Michigan

Alexandra Stern’s work focuses on the history of medicine, including eugenics, medical genetics, epidemics, children’s health and tropical medicine. A prolific author on these topics, she has published several recent health policy papers relating to influenza and community mitigation. As director of the Program in Contemporary History and Health Policy, Dr. Stern studies pressing issues in health, society and policy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and their applicability to contemporary health issues. Currently, her team is conducting qualitative research in the U.S. and Mexico into the deployment of nonpharmaceutical interventions during the 2009 A/H1N1 outbreak.

Dr. Stern’s forthcoming book, Genetic Counseling in Modern America: Gender, Race, Risk and Biomedicine in the Twentieth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press) examines how the medical, social and cultural landscape of reproductive and genetic technologies has changed since the 1950s and what these mean for Americans navigating genetic medicine today. Her book Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America, (University of California Press, 2005) won the 2006 American Public Health Association’s Arthur Viseltear Prize for outstanding contribution to the scholarship on the history of public health.

Faculty Website

Pubmed List of Publications


    History of genetic counseling, which follows the field over dramatic transformations from the 1940s to 1980s. This project was funded by a National Institutes of Health-National Library of Medicine Publication Grant and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

    She recently completed work, as Co-PI, on a National Institutes of Health-Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project Grant, on a collaborative project focused on the history and legacy of Indiana’s 1907 eugenic sterilization act, the first such legislation in the world.

    Co-Investigator with Dr. Markel on several studies on the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation