I grew up in Iowa, the oldest of two kids, and I originally wanted to be a private detective, or at least someone who wrote mysteries since I loved to read them (I wrote my first, and only, mystery in the 6th grade, basically a combination of Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon). But mysteries are an awful lot like histories, and after a stint in art school in St. Louis at Washington University, I transferred to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where I majored in American Studies with a focus in American history. It was sitting among a pile of old medical journals at the medical school library doing research for my honors thesis where I fell in love specifically with medical history. So I decided to go to graduate school in this area, and I obtained an MA in the History of Science and Medicine from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I took a break between the MA and the PhD, though, after I broke my collarbone, jaw, and three ribs, one of which punctured a lung, in a car accident the night before Thanksgiving, all of which put me in intensive care for a week (and resulted in my parents eating their turkey dinner at the hospital cafeteria). Following this, I moved to Nebraska to be with my (then) boyfriend, in one of those not so rational (in hindsight) decisions. Luckily, I found a job that enabled me to pursue my doctorate while I worked, so I obtained my PhD in Preventive and Societal Medicine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
I am a lecturer in Medical Humanities and Bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine and a lecturer in Global Health Studies at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. I teach and advise undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. I conduct research and write about women’s reproductive and sexual health since the early 20th century, and I am especially interested in how history can be used as a method for contextualizing, and analyzing, contemporary concerns, including concerns that are transnational. Most of my research and writing has appeared within the academic press, and I have information about this work on my RESEARCH & WRITING page. My work has also been covered, to a small extent, by the popular press – please see my POPULAR PRESS page for a link to a handful of articles relating to my research. I have been fortunate enough to have received several Sexualities Project at Northwestern Grants (known as SPAN grants), and I was also fortunate to be awarded a Foundation for Women in Medicine Fellowship for 2010-2011, an award that enabled me to do research at the Center for the History of Medicine, Archives for Women in Medicine at the Countway Medical Library at Harvard University.
I live in Oak Park (a suburb of Chicago, the one with all the Frank Lloyd Wright houses) with my spouse and two children. For fun, I like to read mysteries (still) and histories, cook, and take walks.