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Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH

Michael Yudell

Associate Professor and Chair, Community Health and Prevention
Community Health and Prevention
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BA, History and Soviet Studies, Tufts University; MPhil, U.S. History, City University of New York; MPH, PhD, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health


Michael Yudell is currently Chair and Associate Professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health Department of Community Health and Prevention at Drexel University. He is also Director of the Program in Public Health Ethics and History at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Yudell received his PhD and MPH from Columbia University and his BA from Tufts. He is the author Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the 20th Century (Columbia University Press, 2014), a history that examines the way biologists, especially geneticists, shaped the race concept during the 20th century from eugenics to the sequencing of the human genome. The book pays careful attention to the ways in which scientific conceptions of human difference impact both public health and medicine. Additionally, the work has important implications for bioethics and public health ethics given race’s role in patient care and in our understandings of the health of populations. Yudell is the author, with Rob DeSalle, of Welcome to the Genome: A User's Guide to the Genetic Past, Present, and Future (John Wiley and Sons, 2004). Yudell and DeSalle also edited The Genomic Revolution: Unveiling the Unity of Life (Joseph Henry Press of the National Academy of Science, 2002). He is currently writing Ages of Uncertainty: Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Search for Cause and Cure, a history of autism spectrum disorders. Yudell is currently the primary investigator on a grant funded by Autism Speaks looking at the ethical challenges of communicating scientific findings from autism research. Yudell also writes the blog "The Public's Health" for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Outside of his academic life, Yudell appears monthly with the improv group Study Hall at the Philadelphia Improv Theater. 

Research Interests

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Bioethics
  • Ethics
  • Genomics
  • Health disparities
  • History of Public Health
  • Inequality and Public Health


Yudell, M.  Race Unmasked: A 20th Century Struggle to Define Human Difference (Forthcoming, Columbia University Press).

DeSalle, R. and M. Yudell. Welcome to the Genomes. John Wiley & Sons, (Revised Second Edition Forthcoming, 2014).

Rossi, J. Newschaffer, C. and M. Yudell. “Autism Spectrum Disorders, Risk Communication and the Problem of Inadvertent Harm,” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (forthcoming, June 2013)

Yudell, M. Tabor, H. Dawson, G. and C. Newschaffer. “Priorities for Autism Risk Disorders Risk Communication and Ethics.” Autism. (August, 23, 2012, EPub ahead of print).

Rossi, J. and Yudell, M. “The Use of Persuasion in Public Health Communication: An Ethical Critique,” Public Health Ethics. 5(2012) pp.192-205.

Rossi, J. and Yudell, M. “Value-Ladenness and Rationality in Health Communication,” American Journal of Bioethics. 12(February 2012) pp.20-22.

Yudell, M. “Science and Race,” in Race and Genetics, Sheldon Krimsky, ed. (Columbia University Press, 2011).

Yudell, M. “Review: Segregation’s Science: Eugenics and Society in Virginia, by Gregory Dorr,” Journal of the History of Biology. 43(May 2010) pp.419-422.

Yudell, M. and R. DeSalle. Welcome to the Genome: A User’s Guide to the Genetic Past, Present and Future. John Wiley & Sons (September, 2004).

Yudell, M. and R. DeSalle, eds. The Genomic Revolution: Unveiling the Unity of Life, National Academy/Joseph Henry Press, 2002.

Yudell, M. “Public Health Ethics: An Update on an Emerging Field” in the Penn Center Guide to Bioethics, Vardit Ravitsky, Autumn Fiester, and Arthur Caplan, eds. (Springer, 2009), pp.559-569.