Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
King's College, London
Website URL
history of medicine and health, 20th century history, American health care, British health care, medical filmmaking, medical technology, history of medical knowledge, history of bioethics, history of health scepticism and health critics.
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of twentieth century medicine and technology, trained in the United States but currently working in London. I am particularly interested in how our current modern systems of health care came to be and since my move to King’s College, London have been able to view this with a uniquely transatlantic perspective. I am now finishing a book, tentatively titled The Product of Medicine, that examines the surprisingly industrial origins of modern American health care and investigates the impact they have had. I have also worked extensively on medical films and filmmaking in the 20th century, and have recently contributed a piece on the early twentieth century obstetrician-filmmaker Joseph DeLee for the National Library of Medicine’s ‘Medicine on Screen’ project.

My new project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is a study of health scepticism, which aims, for this era of fake news, to examine and find sense in the doubt, cynicism, suspicion, and distrust in and around medical practice from the mid-20th century to the present.  The project seeks to understand what medical sceptics past and present, in individual encounters and in public disavowals of medicine, have expressed in their refusals to comply with conventional medical and public health views. It hopes to shed new light not only on the position of medicine in our uniquely sceptical contemporary as well as offering critical perspective on the position – the health – of scepticism itself as a form of critical engagement.

I am very interested in applying my historical research to contemporary problems in health care, and over the years I have partnered with medical practitioners, philosophers, bioethicists and policy-makers to examine the ways in which medicine’s history can usefully impact current and future shape of health care, its logics and decision-making processes. I view the problem of health care as both a personal and professional preoccupation, and my work thus attempts where possible to situate itself in the interstitial space between the very personal of my own health care experiences and the more intellectual and theoretical confines of the professional historian.

Recent Publications

Caitjan Gainty, “A Note on Universal Access” Washington Post, 19 August 2019.

Caitjan Gainty, ‘“A Bit of Hollywood in the Operating Room”’ Online essay for the U.S. National Library of Medicine “Medicine on Screen” July 2019.

 Caitjan Gainty, “Why Wait?” Modern American History 2019 2(2): 249-255.

 Caitjan Gainty, “A Historical View on Health Care: A New View on Austerity?” Health Care Analysis 2019 27(3): 220-230.

Caitjan Gainty and Grazia de Michele, “The Disease of At Risk” BMJ Opinions. 24 June 2019.

Nikolas Rose and Caitjan Gainty, “Neurovisions” Advances in Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation 2019 18(2): 17-18.

Jesse Olszynko-Gryn, Patrick Ellis, and Caitjan Gainty, eds. “Reproduction on Film,” Special Issue British Journal for the History of Science 2017 50(3).

Caitjan Gainty, “‘Items for criticism (not in sequence)’: Joseph DeLee, Pare Lorentz and The Fight for Life (1940)” British Journal for the History of Science 2017 50(3): 429-449.

Caitjan Gainty, “The Autobiographical Shoulder of Ernest Amory Codman: Crafting Medical Meaning in the 20th Century.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 2016 90: 394-423.

 Caitjan Gainty, “‘Going After the High-Brows:’ Frank Gilbreth and the Surgical Subject, 1912-1917.” Representations 2012 118: 1-27.


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United Kingdom, United States
Expertise by Chronology
7, 8, 9
Expertise by Topic
Medicine, Science