AHA Member Spotlight: Jeffrey L. Sturchio

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Sturchio_photoJeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO at Rabin Martin (a strategy consulting firm focused on global health); a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise; and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Global Health Policy Center. He lives in New Jersey and has been a member since 1981.

Twitter handle: @jeffsturchio

Alma maters: BA, Princeton University, 1973; MA, University of Pennsylvania, 1976; PhD (history & sociology of science), University of Pennsylvania, 1981

Fields of interest: history of modern science, technology, and medicine; history of the biopharmaceutical industry; global health and development; global governance in health (in particular, the role of the private sector); improving access to medicines and vaccines in the developing world.

When did you first develop an interest in history?
I had always been intrigued by history in school, but my first serious encounter with the field was Professor Michael Mahoney’s course on the scientific revolution, which I took at Princeton University in my freshman year. I eventually switched my major from chemistry to history of science, and then went on to obtain a PhD in the field.

What projects are you currently working on?
A collection of essays on the role of the private sector in helping countries to achieve universal health coverage. This builds on work reported in Non-Communicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Policy and Research (edited with Louis Galambos, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).

Have your interests changed since graduation? If so, how?
Yes. While still in the academic world, my focus was on the history of chemistry and the chemical industries in the modern era, particularly the changing nature of innovation. Since moving into the business world in 1988, my historical interests have migrated to topics at the intersection of business, innovation, corporate responsibility, global health, and global development.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog, etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members?
I recently read Abraham Verghese’s My Own Country, a memoir of his encounter with AIDS in the early years of the epidemic while working in internal medicine in eastern Tennessee in the 1980s. It presents an honest, poignant, and powerful picture of the impact of a devastating disease on a community ill-prepared for its challenges and, more importantly, what it meant in human terms for people living with HIV infection and their caregivers.

Another book I just finished—and recommend highly—is David Nasaw’s biography of Andrew Carnegie. He presents a rich and fascinating portrait of Carnegie’s life and times, with important new insights into how Carnegie conceived of his philanthropic mission after becoming the richest man in the world at the turn of the 20th century.

What do you value most about the history profession?
History provides an unparalleled way of making sense of complexity, past and present.

Why have you continued to be a member of the AHA?
Keeping up with trends in history helps to sharpen the work I do as a management consultant and enables me to think differently and (even) creatively about problems that interest me (and our clients).

Other than history, what are you passionate about?
Global health—how we can work as a global community to address the shocking disparities in health around the world. We have the tools and the money but they are not evenly distributed.

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