David Rosner

David Rosner

David Rosner

Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor
Sociomedical Sciences


Mailman SPH, Dept. Sociomedical Sciences 722 west 168th street suite 934New York NY 10032
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David Rosner, PhD, MPH, focuses on research at the intersection of public health and social history and the politics of occupational disease and industrial pollution. He has been actively involved in lawsuits on behalf of cities, states and communities around the nation who are trying to hold the lead industry accountable for past acts that have resulted in tremendous damage to America's children. Cases aimed at removing lead from children's environments and compensating parents and governmental agencies for the costs of care and abatement of hazards in the home environment have grown out of his academic work. His work on the history of industry understanding the harms done by their industrial toxins has been part of law suits on behalf of asbestos workers and silicosis victims as well. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Dr. Rosner was University Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York. In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. In addition to numerous grants, he has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and a Josiah Macy Fellow. He has been awarded the Distinguished Scholar's Prize from the City University and the Viseltear Prize for Outstanding Work in the History of Public Health from the APHA, among others. Dr. Rosner has also been honored by the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health and, with Gerald Markowitz, was awarded the Upton Sinclair Memorial Lectureship "For Outstanding Occupational Health, Safety, and Environmental Journalism by the American Industrial Hygiene Association." Dr. Rosner is an author of many books on occupational disease, epidemics and public health. Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children, (University of California Press/Milbank Fund, 2013) details the recent conflicts at Johns Hopkins over studies of children placed in homes with low level lead exposure and what it says about public health research.



PhD, 1978, Harvard University
MPH, 1972, University of Massachusetts
BA, 1968, City College of New York


Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health

Editorial Boards

Editorial Board, Public Health Reports
Editorial Board, Journal of Public Health Policy
Editorial Board, University of Rochester Press series on the history of public health

Columbia Affiliations

Faculty Fellow, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Advisory Board, Center for the Study of Science and Religion
Professor, Department of History

Academic Appointments

Professor, History

Additional Affiliations

Member, Institute of Medicine
APHA Governing Council, 1994-1996
Chair, Viseltear Committee, APHA Medical Care, 1991-2000
Member, Sigma Xi, Honorary Science Society
Contributing Editor, Public Health Reports, 2002-
Editorial Board, Journal of Public Health Policy, 1999-

Honors & Awards

RWJ Health Policy Investigator Award, 2002-2005
Arthur Viseltear Award, Medical Care Section, APHA, 2000
Guggenheim Fellow, 1987-1988
NEH Fellow, 1983-1984
Upton Sinclair Award, American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2005

Areas of Expertise

Bioterrorism, Disaster Preparedness, Chemical Hazards, Lead Exposure, Global Health, Homelessness, Ethics, Occupational Health and Safety, Minority Health, Urban Health, History of Public Health, Human Rights

Select Urban Health Activities

September 11th and Public Health: Dr. Rosner has organized and written reports on September 11th and its impact on public health infrastructure for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Milbank Fund. The Milbank Fund published three of his special reports. His recent book, Are We Ready: Public Health since 9/11 was published by the University of California Press/Milbank in 2006.

Author of books on NYC : Dr. Rosner is the author of A Once Charitable Enterprise: Hospitals and Health Care in Brooklyn and New York (Cambridge University Press). Author of: Children, Race and Power, (Routledge Press) Editor of:"Hives of Sickness: Epidemics and Public Health in New York City

Television, Radio and Movie Documentaries on New York City: Dr. Rosner has been on numerous radio programs including All Things Considered, Tell me More, Radiolab, Morning Edition and other NPR and BBC broadcasts. He has also appeared in NOVA?s documentary The Most Dangerous Woman in the World: Typhoid Mary. ABC's "Do You Know Who You Are?"; NBCs "Dateline;" and other European newscasts. He was also interviewed for a Greater New York Hospital Association documentary on New York Hospitals. Also, his work and he were featured on Bill Moyers' PBS Special: "Trade Secrets" and an HBO special, "Blue Vinyl."

Select Global Activities

Lectures in UK: Dr. Rosner was a keynote speaker at an international conference on the medical humanities and ethics at the University College London in September 2004. Also, he is the Edward and Amalie Kass Lecturer University College London; also lecturer, University at Exeter

IREX Program on Eastern Europe and EHESS Program in Paris, France: Dr. Rosner was one of a number of historians invited to a two-week seminar with Hungarian historians. Also Visiting Faculty, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France.

International Silicosis Project, France: This is a project on the international comparison of an occupational disease, silicosis. It is headquartered in Paris, France and grew out of a lecture Rosner gave at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

Select Publications

Colgrove, J., Markowitz, G., and Rosner, D. (Eds.) The Contested Boundaries of American Public Health. Rutgers University Press New Brunswick, NJ 2008

Markowitz G, Rosner D Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution University of California Press Berkeley 2002

David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz Are We Ready? Public Health Since 9/11 University of California Press Berkeley, California, US 2006

Markowitz G, Rosner D "Cater to the children": the role of the lead industry in a public health tragedy, 1900-1955 American Journal of Public Health 90 36-46 2000

Markowitz, G. and Rosner, D. Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution. University of California Press/Milbank Memorial Fund Berkeley 2002

Rosner D, ed. "Hives of Sickness": Epidemics and Public Health in New York City Rutgers University Press New Brunswick 1996

Rosner, D., and Markowitz, G. The politics of lead toxicology and the devastating consequences for children. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 50 740-756 2007

Rosner D A Once Charitable Enterprise: Hospitals and Health Care in Brooklyn and New York Cambridge University Press NY 1982;2004

Rosner, D., and Markowitz, G. Deadly Dust: Silicosis and the On-Going Struggle to Protect Workers’ Health, new and expanded edition. University of Michigan Press Ann Arbor, MI 2006

Stevens, R., Rosenberg, C., and Burns, L. (Eds.) History and Health Policy in the United States: Putting the Past Back In Rutgers University Press New Brunswick: 130-152 2006

Markowitz G, Rosner D Children, Race and Power: Kenneth and Mamie Clark's Northside Center Routledge NY, NY 2002

Markowitz G, Rosner D, eds. "Slaves of the Depression": Workers' Letters about Life on the Job Cornell University Press Ithaca, NY 1987

Rosner, D., and Markowitz, G. Standing up to the lead industry: An interview with Herbert Needleman. Public Health Reports 120 330-337 2005

Rosner D, Markowitz G, ed. Dying for Work Indiana University Press Bloomington 1987

Rosner, D. A Once Charitable Enterprise. Hospitals and Health Care in Brooklyn and New York, 1885 1915. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, New York paperback 2004.

Rosner D, Markowitz G Deadly Dust: The Politics of Occupational Health in 20th Century America Princeton University Press US 1994

Reverby S, Rosner D, eds. Health Care in America: Essays in Social Medicine Temple University Press Philadelphia 1979

Huisman, F., and Warner, J. (Eds.) Locating Medical History: The Stories and Their Meanings Johns Hopkins Press Baltimore, MD 167-193 2004

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