series event

Centre for History Annual Lecture

Lecture, book launch and book-signing: The WHO in Historical and Ideological Perspective: Past, Present, and Future

University of Rochester Professor of History Theodore M. Brown, teaching 'HIS 204: History of International and Global Health', in Gavett Hall, #312, on the University of Rochester's River Campus. Mr. Brown is a Professor of History; Professor of Medical Humanities; Charles E. & Dale L. Phelps Professor of Public Health and Policy
Photo by Brandon Vick, University of Rochester

This talk will distil and extend the book The World Health Organization: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2019) by one of its three authors, and offer a perspective on where the WHO is now and may be heading in the crowded and contested world of international and global health.

The World Health Organization - A History

Rather than focusing on the WHO’s specific public health campaigns, health security interventions, or technical advances and achievements, the book concentrates on how the organisation has been and continues to be shaped by political context and the interests of major national and economic powers, the conflict between rival medical ideologies, and the pursuit or avoidance of its own principles of global equity and social justice as articulated in its 1948 constitution and the Alma-Ata declaration of 1978.


Abut the Speaker

Theodore M. Brown is a professor of public health and policy, medical humanities and history at the University of Rochester. His main area of research is the history of health policy in America and he specialises in the intellectual, institutional, and political histories of medicine.  Brown received his B.S. in history and science from the City University of New York in 1963, and went on to complete a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from Princeton University in 1968. He also pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in the history of medicine in 1969. He has served as a contributing editor to the American Journal of Public Health, and as the editor of the Rochester Studies of Medical History. Brown is the co-author of several books on the topic of health care, including The Quest for Health Reform: A Satirical History and most recently The World Health Organisation: A History. In 2013, Brown was appointed the Charles E. and Dale L. Phelps Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Rochester. 

The lecture will be followed by a discussion and Q&A hosted by Professor David Heymann (LSHTM, Chatham House, Executive Director, WHO, Communicable Diseases Cluster, 1998 -2003). 

The lecture will conclude with a drinks reception where Professor Brown will sign copies The World Health Organization: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2019) book which will be available to purchase. Please note we can only accept card payments. 

Watch the session



No registration required. Seats available on first come, first served basis.