Marian Moser Jones
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 peoples’ 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.
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 on the history and practice of the 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.
Ph.D., Sociomedical Sciences/History, Ethics & Policy, Columbia University, 2008.
M.P.H., Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, 2005.
A.B., Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard College, 1992.
- FMSC 383 - Delivery of Human Services to Families
- PHSC 401 - History of Public Health
- FMSC 410 - Maternal, Child and Family Health
- FMSC 730 - Key topics in MCH
- HIST 619G - Histories of Humanitarianism and Human Rights
2016 University of Maryland Gymnastics Team Most Valuable Professor.
2015 Doris Sands Excellence in Teaching Award, UMD School of Public Health.
2013 Faculty Mentor Award, Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program, UMD.
2012-13 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.”
2010-2011 DeWitt Stetten Fellow, National Institutes of Health History Office.
2007-2008 Dolores J. Quinn Fellow, Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
2007 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.”
Jones, M.M. (Jan. 2013). The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press.
Jones, M.M. (2017). American Volunteerism. In World War I Remembered. Washington, D.C.: American Battle Monuments Commission, National Park Service, World War I Centennial Commission.
Jones, M.M. (2016). Red Cross. In Dictionary of American history supplement: America in the world, 1776 to present. New York: MacMillan Reference.
Jones, M.M. (2015). Angel of the Battlefield, Clara Barton. In James I. Robertson and William C. Davis, eds., Virginia Essential Civil War Curriculum. Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, VA.
Jones M.M. (2014). The Red Cross. In Showalter, D. (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Military History. New York, Oxford University Press.
Jones, M.M. and Bayer, R. (2008). Paternalism and Its Discontents: Motorcycle Helmet Laws, Libertarian Values, and Public Health. In Colgrove, J., Markowitz, G., and Rosner, D., The Contested Boundaries of American Public Health (pp. 110-126), Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Fairchild, A. and Jones, M.M. (2007). Ethics and the Conduct of Public Health Surveillance. In M’ M’ikanatha, Nkuchia M., Lynfield, Ruth, and Van Beneden, Chris & de Valk, Henriette, (Eds.), Infectious Disease Surveillance (pp. 445-449), London, Blackwell.
Articles in Refereed Journals
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.
Jones, M.M. (2015). Creating a Science of Homelessness during the Reagan Era. Milbank Quarterly, 93:1; 139-178
Jones, M. M. (2014). Tempest in the Forbidden City: Racism, Violence, and Vulnerability in the 1926 Miami Hurricane. Journal of Policy History, 26: 3: 384-405.
Jones, M.M. and Benrubi, I.D. (2013). Poison Politics: A Contested History of Consumer Protection against Dangerous Household Chemicals in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 103:801-12.
Jones, M.M. (2011). Race, Class and Gender Disparities in Clara Barton’s Late Nineteenth-Century Disaster Relief. Environment and History, 17: 107-131.
Jones, M.M. (2010). The American Red Cross and Local Response to the 1918 Influenza: A Four-City Case Study. Public Health Reports, Supplement 3: 125:92-104.
Jones, M.M., and Bayer, R. (2007). Paternalism and Its Discontents: Motorcycle Helmet Laws, Libertarian Values, and Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 97: 208-217.
Fairchild, A., Colgrove, J., Jones, M.M. (2006). The Challenge of Mandatory Evacuation: Providing for and Deciding For. Health Affairs, 25: 958-967.
Refereed Conference Proceedings
Jones, M.M. (2016, in press) « L’Infirmière américaine pendant la Grande Guerre: qui était-elle? ». In Proceedings of « Humanitaire & Médicine 3 : La Croix-Rouge et la médecine face à la Première guerre mondiale et à ses suites immédiates : 1914-1920. Conference : Genève Humanitaire Historical Research Center and the Institute of the History of Medicine and Health at the University of Geneva Medical School.
Jones, M.M. (2016, in press) « Transplantation Transatlantique: La vie de Clara Barton et son influence sur la mission du mouvement de la Croix Rouge, » In Proceedings of « Humanitaire & Médicine 2 : La Croix Rouge à l’épreuve du feu 1870 – 1914 » Conference : Genève Humanitaire Historical Research Center and the Institute of the History of Medicine and Health at the University of Geneva Medical School.
Jones, M.M. (Fall 2012). Rising to the Surface: Disasters and Racial Health Disparities in American History, Washington & Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, 19: 19-30.
Monographs, Reports, and Extension Publications
Fairchild A., Colgrove J., Jones M.M., Redlener, I. (2006). Ethical and Legal Challenges Posed by Mandatory Hurricane Evacuation: Duties and Limits. New York, National Center for Disaster Preparedness-Children’s Health Fund.
Jones, M.M. (2005). Protecting Public Health in New York City: 200 Years of Leadership, New York, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Jones, M.M. (2016). Review of book Nurses and Disasters: Global, Historical Case Studies, Arlene W. Keeling and Barbara Mann Wall, eds., Springer, 2015. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, (Fall issue).
Jones, M.M. (2014). Review of Gordian Knot: Apartheid and the Unmaking of the Liberal World Order, Ryan Irwin, Oxford, 2012. History: Reviews of New Books: 42:3: 105-06.
Jones, M.M., (2009). Review of There is No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster: Race, Class, and Hurricane Katrina, Chester Hartman, and Gregory D. Squires, Eds., Routledge, 2006. Global Public Health, 4: 3: 318 – 320.
Jones, M.M. (2008). Review of exhibit PLAGUE in GOTHAM! Cholera in Nineteenth-Century New York. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 82: 4: 918-919.
Selected Blogs and Articles in General Audience Publications
Sacharski, S. and Jones, M.M. (2017, May 20). 100 Years Later: Remembering the First American Casualties of World War I. VAntage Point. The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jones, M.M. (2017, April 10). American Nurses in World War I: Under-Appreciated and Under Fire. The Great War, PBS American Experience website.
Jones, M.M. (2016, April 28). Are women really qualified for that? 100 years ago, Army nurses faced similar doubts.Echoes and Evidence: nursing history and health policy blog, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Jones, M.M. (2014).When the Crisis Fades, Remember the Nurses, Bates Center Blog, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Nov. 5. The Nixon Flag in My Office. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 7. The World War I Centennial: Why Should Americans Care?, Johns Hopkins University Press Blog, July 28.
Jones, M.M. (2013). Clara Barton et Le Mouvement Humanitaire. Grotius International: Géopolitiques de l’humanitaire (France), Nov. 29. Will Same-Sex-Marriage Rulings Lead to an LGBT Brain Drain in Some States? The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 27. Haggling over Hurricane Sandy Relief: The Unraveling of a Rational Disaster Relief Policy. The Hill, Jan. 29. Finding Clara Barton, Johns Hopkins University Press Blog, January 16.
Audio and Video
Interview with Maj. Lisa Jaster. Smithsonian National Museum of American History Channel on YouTube, March 2017.
"Clara Barton: Humanitarian Entrepreneur" - videorecording of public talk at Clara Barton National Historic Site, April 12, 2014.
"Poison Politics" Video Blog, 2013.
News articles about Dr. Moser Jones' work
Learning from 100 years of women at war: one Veteran’s perspective. VAntage Point. Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from:
Study investigates connections between race, homelessness. Street Sense, December 18, 2016.