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Marian Moser Jones

Marian Moser Jones

Associate Professor and Graduate Director, Family Science

Marian Moser Jones is a social historian and ethicist of public health who explores the institutionalization of benevolence in the United States. Her research examines how and why the American institutional sector has developed to provide for the health and survival needs of families, children, and other vulnerable populations in crisis situations, as well as how it has exercised the power to decide what is best for people's health and well-being.

She defines benevolence broadly as encompassing activities that might be labeled “humanitarian,” such as aid to people affected by a disaster; activities that might be considered “charitable” or “philanthropic,” such as organizing a diaper drive for low-income parents or founding a homeless shelter; and activities that might be viewed as merely necessary to promote and protect health, such as establishing a poison control center. Such a broad definition is applied because dominant beliefs about public and private responsibility for individual and family health and welfare have shifted considerably in the U.S. during the past two centuries.


SPH | Room 1142BB

(301) 405-8940


Jones' first peer-reviewed book, The American Red Cross, from Clara Barton to the New Deal, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in December 2012. Her lead-authored article, “Poison Politics: A Contentious History of Consumer Protection against Dangerous Household Chemicals in the United States,” received the 2012-2013 Article of the Year award from the American Journal of Public Health. In 2005, Jones published a commissioned monograph for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene entitled Protecting Public Health in New York City: 200 Years of Leadership.

Jones teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on family health, the history of public health, and the history and practice of human services. She received her Ph.D. and M.P.H. degrees in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University, and her A.B. from Harvard College. She studied the history and sociology of science as a 2010-2011 De Witt Stetten postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. She has previously taught at Virginia Commonwealth University and worked as a health and science journalist in New York City and Boston.

PhD, Sociomedical Sciences/History, Ethics & Policy, 2008

Columbia University

MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, 2005

Columbia University

AB, Visual and Environmental Studies, 1992

Harvard College

FMSC383 Delivery of Human Services to Families

PHSC401 History of Public Health

FMSC410 Maternal, Child and Family Health

FMSC730 Key topics in MCH

HIST619G Histories of Humanitarianism and Human Rights 

University of Maryland Gymnastics Team Most Valuable Professor, 2016

Doris Sands Excellence in Teaching Award, UMD School of Public Health, 2015

Faculty Mentor Award, Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program, UMD, 2013​

Article of the Year Award, American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, for “Poison Politics: A Contested History of Consumer Protection against Dangerous Household Chemicals in the United States,” ​2012-13

DeWitt Stetten Fellow, National Institutes of Health History Office, 2010-2011

Dolores J. Quinn Fellow, Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 2007-2008

New York Academy of Medicine Student Essay Prize in the History of Medicine and Public Health, awarded for paper, “The Contentious History of Homelessness and Mental Illness in New York City: An Analysis of Interviews,” 2007

Jones, M.M, (2019 in press). The American Red Cross Mercy Ship in the First World War: A Pivotal Experiment in Nursing-Centered Clinical Humanitarianism. Nursing History Review 28.

Jones, M.M & Saines, M. (2019). The Eighteen of 1918-1919: Black Nurses and the Great Flu Pandemic in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 109(6): 877-884.: doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305003.

Jones, M.M. & Roy, K. (2017). Placing Health Trajectories in Family and Historical Context: A Proposed Enrichment of the Life Course Health and Development Model. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 10.1007/s10995-017-2354-4. 

Shenassa, D., Meyer, C, Jones, M.M., & Fahey, J. (2017) Gestational Weight Gain: Historical Evolution of a Contested Health Outcome. Obstetric and Gynecological Survey, 72(7):445-453. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000459. 

Jones, M.M. (2016, ). Does Race Matter in Addressing Homelessness? A Review of Literature. World Medical & Health Policy , 8, 139–156. doi: 10.1002/wmh3.189.