David Jones, Ph.D., M.D.

A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine
  • The Ackerman Program
  • 617/495-3562

Dr. Jones initially focused his research on epidemics among American Indians, resulting in a book, Rationalizing Epidemics: Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality since 1600 (published by Harvard University Press in 2004), and several articles. Jones has also examined human subjects research, Cold War medicine, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and the history of cardiac surgery. His current research explores the history of decision making in cardiac therapeutics, attempting to understand how cardiologists and cardiac surgeons implement new technologies of cardiac revascularization. This research is supported by an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, and by the National Science Foundation. The first book from this work, Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) examines why it can be so difficult for physicians to determine the efficacy and safety of their treatments. He is now at work on two follow up books.  One, On the Origins of Therapies, will trace the evolution of coronary artery bypass surgery.  The other examines the history of heart disease and cardiac therapeutics in India

David Jones completed his A.B. degree at Harvard College in 1993 (History and Science), and then pursued a Ph.D. in History of Science at Harvard University and an M.D. at Harvard Medical School, receiving both in 2001. After an internship in pediatrics at Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center, he trained as a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, and then worked for two years as a staff psychiatrist in the Psychiatric Emergency Service at Cambridge Hospital. He joined the faculty at MIT in 2005 as an assistant professor of the history and culture of science and technology. From 2004 to 2008 Professor Jones directed the Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine at MIT, organizing a successful series of conferences about race, science, and technology. In 2009 he was appointed as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT’s highest honor for faculty who have made sustained contributions to undergraduate education. He also taught as a lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he was awarded the 2010 Donald O'Hara Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In 2011 he left MIT to join the Harvard faculty fulltime as the inaugural A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine, a joint position between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine. The Ackerman Program at Harvard University fosters collaborations in the medical humanities and social sciences across the two campuses.

  1. Jones DS. A complete medical education includes the arts and humanities. August 1, 2014. The virtual mentor : VM.

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  2. Jones DS. Still delirious after all these years. January 30, 2014. The New England journal of medicine.

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  3. Jones DS. Doctors and the dangers of driving. January 2, 2014. The New England journal of medicine.

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  4. Jones DS, Greene JA. The decline and rise of coronary heart disease: understanding public health catastrophism. May 16, 2013. American journal of public health.

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  5. Jones, DS.. Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care January 1, 2013. Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care.

  6. Jones DS, Greene JA. The contributions of prevention and treatment to the decline in cardiovascular mortality: lessons from a forty-year debate. October 1, 2012. Health affairs (Project Hope).

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  7. Greene JA, Jones DS, Podolsky SH. Therapeutic evolution and the challenge of rational medicine. September 20, 2012. The New England journal of medicine.

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  8. Jones DS. How much CABG is good for us? August 11, 2012. Lancet.

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  9. Jones DS. Olympic medicine. July 26, 2012. The New England journal of medicine.

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  10. Jones DS, Podolsky SH, Greene JA. The burden of disease and the changing task of medicine. June 21, 2012. The New England journal of medicine.

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  11. Podolsky SH, Greene JA, Jones DS. The evolving roles of the medical journal. April 19, 2012. The New England journal of medicine.

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  12. Jones DS. How personalized medicine became genetic, and racial: Werner Kalow and the formations of pharmacogenetics. September 10, 2011. Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences.

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  13. Jones DS, Cambrosio A, Mogoutov A. Detection and characterization of translational research in cancer and cardiovascular medicine. May 11, 2011. Journal of translational medicine.

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  14. Whitmarsh, I Jones, DS. What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference January 1, 2010. What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference.

  15. Jones DS. Therapeutic history and the need for archives: the case of cardiac revascularization. January 1, 2008. Journal of the history of dentistry.

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  16. Dorr GM, Jones DS. Introduction: Facts and fictions: BiDil and the resurgence of racial medicine. January 1, 2008. The Journal of law, medicine & ethics : a journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics.

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  17. Jones DS. The persistence of American Indian health disparities. October 31, 2006. American journal of public health.

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  18. Jones DS, Perlis RH. Pharmacogenetics, race, and psychiatry: prospects and challenges. March 1, 2006. Harvard review of psychiatry.

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  19. Jones DS, Krotick S, Johnson B, Morrison AP. Waiting for rescue: an attorney who will not advocate for himself. July 1, 2005. Harvard review of psychiatry.

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  20. Jones, DS. Rationalizing Epidemics: Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality since 1600 January 1, 2004. Rationalizing Epidemics: Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality since 1600.

  21. Jones DS. The health care experiments at Many Farms: the Navajo, tuberculosis, and the limits of modern medicine, 1952-1962. January 1, 2002. Bulletin of the history of medicine.

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  22. Jones DS. Technologies of Compliance: Surveillance of Self-Administration of Tuberculosis Treatment, 1956-1966 January 1, 2001. History and Technology.

  23. Jones DS. Visions of a cure. Visualization, clinical trials, and controversies in cardiac therapeutics, 1968-1998. September 1, 2000. Isis; an international review devoted to the history of science and its cultural influences.

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  24. Martensen RL, Jones DS. When US medicine became imperial. June 25, 1997. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association.

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Department of the History of Science, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

FAS - Harvard
Dep. of the History of Science, Science Ctr 371
1 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA 02138