Adapting Biomedicine for Underserved Chinese New Yorkers: Medical Education and Health Activism in Post-World War II New York City


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation investigates how underserved Chinese New Yorkers obtained better access to healthcare in the postwar period. It argues that favorable geopolitical factors and influence from social and civil rights movements allowed a group of Chinese American health professionals and their allies to mold elite biomedicine into a low-cost, multilingual, and preventative model of care for the Chinese New Yorker community. Drawing from multi-sited research and rare oral history interviews with Chinese American doctors and community activists, this project is the first in-depth historical study of Chinese New Yorkers’ experiences with activism in healthcare in the postwar period. It contributes to US urban history and histories of immigration, foreign policy, public health and medicine, and the Asian diaspora. It also informs current debates about how to improve pipelines for physicians from underrepresented backgrounds and reduce barriers to care in underserved communities.