Dominique A. Tobbell



I am a historian of 20th century health care and business, biomedical science, and technology with a particular interest in the history of nursing, pharmaceuticals, and health policy. I received my B.Sc. in biochemistry from the University of Manchester in 2001 and my M.A. and Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. My first book, Pills, Power, and Policy: The Struggle forDrug Reform in Cold War America and its Consequences (University of California Press/Milbank Series on Health and the Public, 2012) describes how the American drug industry and key sectors of the medical profession came to be allies against federal reform, and details the political strategies used by that pharmaceutical-medical alliance to influence public opinion and shape legislative reform and the regulatory environment of prescription drugs after World War II. My second book, Health Informatics at Minnesota: The First Fifty Years (Minneapolis: Tasora Books, 2015), details the history of health informatics at the University of Minnesota in the context of the history of the field and changes in health policy from the late 1950s through 2015. I am currently working on two book projects. The first, Educating Nurses: Knowledge, Politics, and the Making of the American Nursing Workforce After World War II, examines the history of nursing education reforms in the context of nursing workforce concerns after World War II. The second project, Delivering Care, Governing Health: Academic Health Centers and the States Since World War II, is a comparative history of the development and administration of state-funded AHCs in which I document the intersections of inter-professional and institutional politics and state health policymaking in the history of state-funded academic health centers after World War II. My other work has focused on the development of health informatics, and the role of academic and government researchers, biotechnology companies, and disease-based organizations in the development of drugs to treat rare diseases, so-called orphan drugs. I am also interested in post-war developments in the health professions and in health policy, and I am the oral historian for the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center History Project. In addition to my academic interests, I train, coach, and compete in judo at Midway Judo Club and hold the rank of sandan (third-degree black belt).

Me and my German Shepherd puppy, Taka, at 11 weeks old, June 2009. 

Taka and I, August 2010.

Throwing harai goshi at the Land of Lakes Tournament, October 2009.