I am currently the Assistant Director of the African Studies Program at the University of Oregon. I received my Ph.D. in History and my Masters in Public Health from Boston University.

My recent book project, The Experiment Must Continue: Medical Research and Ethics in East Africa, 1940-2014, tells the story of human experimentation and medical ethics in East Africa from 1940 to the present. It is a history of the very real encounters that made up medical research in the region: of European doctors taking blood samples under cover of darkness; African assistants going door to door collecting stool samples in tarred jars; and of school children lined up to receive injections. It is also a recounting of peoples' responses to and understanding of these encounters.

My research has an East African regional focus. During 2008 I traveled and researched extensively in Tanzania and Kenya. I collected new archival materials Mwanza and Amani (Tanzania) and also traveled to Ukara and Ukerewe Islands in Lake Victoria in order to conduct interviews. In Kenya, I was in Nairobi and Kisumu. To date, I have been in more than 15 different places searching for documents or people who can help me reconstruct the history of medical research in the region.  This research is based on newly discovered archival sources in East Africa and extensive interviewing. I returned to Kenya and Tanzania during the summers of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

My hope is that a careful history of medical research in East Africa will provide useful information to contextualize these debates, and create more sensitive policy and research programs in the future. Through work both inside and outside of the university, my commitment is to high quality research on issues related to medicine, health and disease on the African continent. I am particularly interested in making research findings accessible to the larger public, and serving as a bridge to translate academic findings to practitioners working in the field.

I am engaged in a number of other research projects in East Africa that focus on the history of failed malaria elimination attempts in Zanzibar and the lack of trust that developed between local residents and international public health organizations, such as the WHO. I use the Zanzibar case to illustrate how “illogical” or “irrational” behavior is often rooted in deeper historical relationships than international public health experts recognize or acknowledge. Another project, in the early stages, traces the creation and growth of the ubiquitous “DHS” (Demographic and Health Survey), its widespread use in economic development and public health work, and the ethical questions surrounding the use of this tool.


Consent or Coercion?

History, Human Experimentation & Medical Ethics in East Africa