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Jacqueline Wolf, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Social Medicine
  • Adjunct professor, Department of Women and Gender Studies
  • Adjunct professor, Department of History
  • Professor, Contemporary History Institute
  • Adjunct professor, Department of Health Communications
Expert Wolf View high-resolution photo
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Areas of Expertise

History of Biomedical Ethics
History of Birth and Breastfeeding Practices in the U.S.
History of Cesarean Section in the U.S.
History of Obstetrics
History of Pediatrics
History of Public Health
History of Women's and Children's Health

Expert Bio

Wolf is a historian of medicine, with teaching expertise in the history of women’s and children’s health, the history of public health, and the history of biomedical ethics. Her research focuses on the history of birth and breastfeeding practices in the United States, and is primarily concerned with the long-term impact that specific medical recommendations and practices have on public health.

She is the author of three books: Don’t Kill Your Baby: Public Health and the Decline of Breastfeeding in the 19th and 20th Centuries  (Ohio State University Press, 2001) examines the cultural shift from breastfeeding to formula-feeding in the United States and its effect on women’s and children’s health, Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009) is a social history of the changing views of labor pain and the corresponding use of obstetric anesthesia in the 19th- and 20th-century United States and Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence (Johns Hopkins University Press , 2018) examines the history of cesarean section in the United States beginning in the early 19 th century and focuses on the social, cultural, economic, and medical factors that sparked the rise in cesarean surgeries beginning in the late 1960s.

Wolf’s second and third books were supported by multi-year grants from the National Institutes of Health. She also has published scholarly articles in journals that include the  American   Journal of Public Health,   Journal of Social History, Journal of Women’s History, Breastfeeding Medicine, Signs, Journal of Human Lactation, Health, Women and Health,   Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, and The Milbank Quarterly ­– which featured an article she co-authored with her brother about end-of-life care in the United States, using their mother’s death from lung cancer as a case study. 

She also has a podcast, Lifespan: Stories of Illness, Accident and Recovery that talks about encounters with the health care system and contains stories bound by a common theme – a person’s personal journey through a particular type of medical trauma. 

Expertise at a Glance

Wolf is an expert in the history of birth and breastfeeding practices, women and children’s health and the history of obstetrics. Her research focuses on the long-term impact that specific medical recommendations and practices have on public health.