Integrated Search Menu

Michael Yudell

Profile photo
Vice Dean and Professor
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 9020
Faculty Affiliate
Administrative, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 9020

Michael Yudell is public health ethicist and award-winning historian whose work focuses on the history and ethics of genomics, the history of the race concept, and the history and ethics of autism research. Yudell received his PhD and MPH from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, an MPhil in U.S. History from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and his BA in History and Soviet and Eastern European Studies from Tufts University. During graduate school, Michael was also a Graduate Researcher in the Molecular Biology Laboratory at the American Museum of Natural History and a Health Policy Analyst at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Yudell is the author of Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the 20th Century (Columbia University Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Arthur J. Viseltear Award from the American Public Health Association. The book examines the way biologists shaped the race concept during the 20th century from eugenics to the sequencing of the human genome. Yudell is the author of several books with the geneticist Rob DeSalle, including Welcome to the Genome: A User's Guide to the Genetic Past, Present, and Future (John Wiley and Sons, 2005 and 2020) and the edited collection The Genomic Revolution: Unveiling the Unity of Life  (Joseph Henry Press of the National Academy of Science, 2002). Along with Dr. Samuel K. Roberts, Yudell edits the Columbia University Press Series Race, Inequality, and Health. This series combines work in history, the social sciences, the biological sciences, and public health to deepen our understanding of how ideological and scientific claims about race and race difference have impacted health and society historically and in the present day. Yudell conducts research on autism and ethics, including currently a National Science Foundation project examining the ethics of community-engaged autism research He is currently writing with Dr. Emer Lucey, A Way of Being Human, a history of autism spectrum disorders (Columbia University Press). From 2014-2021, Yudell was Chair of the Department of Community Health and Prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel. He was also, until April 2021, the Chair of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health’s Newborn Screening and Follow-up Technical Advisory Board. On a lighter note, Yudell performs in the long-running improv comedy show Study Hall.

  • PhD, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 2008
  • MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 2001
  • BA, Tufts University, 1990
Research Interests: 

-Public health ethics

-Health disparities



Select Recent Publications

Yudell, M. Considering Racial Terminology in Public Health Research,” European Journal of Public Health. 31(2021) pp.5-6.

Yudell, M. Roberts, D. DeSalle, R. and S. Tishkoff. NIH Must Confront the Use of Race in Science,” Science. 369(2020) pp.1313-1314.

Popejoy, A.B., Crooks, K.R., Fullerton, S.M., Hindorff, L.A., Hooker, G.W., Koenig, B.A., Pino, N., Ramos, E.M., Ritter, D.I., Wand, H., Wright, M.W., Yudell, M., Zou, J.Y. Plon, S.E., Bustamante, C.D., Orbond, K.E. “Clinical Genetics Lacks Standard Definitions and Protocols for the Collection and Use of Diversity Measures,” American Journal of Human Genetics. 107(2020) pp.72-82.

Pellicano, E., Lawson, W. Hall, G., Lilley, R., Davis, C., Arnold, S., Trollor, J., Yudell, M. “Documenting the Untold Histories of Late-Diagnosed Autistic Adults: A Qualitative Study Protocol Using Oral History Methodology,” BMJOpen. (2020) 10:e037968. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037968

Purtle, J., Nelson, K.L., Counts, N.Z., and Yudell, M.Population-Based Approaches to Mental Health: History, Strategies, and Evidence,” Annual Reviews in Public Health. 41(2020) pp.201-221.

Arana-Chicas E., Kioumarsi, A., Massey P., Carroll-Scott A., Klassen A.C., and Yudell M. “Barriers and Facilitators to Mammography Among Women with Intellectual Disabilities: A Qualitative Approach,” Disability and Society. 35(2020) pp.1290-1314.

DeSalle, R. and M. Yudell. Welcome to the Genome: A Users Guide to the Genetic Past, Present and Future (John Wiley & Sons, 2004 & Second Edition, 2020).

Garfield, T. and Yudell, M. “Commentary: Participatory Justice and Ethics in Autism Research,” Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics. 14(2019) pp. 455-457.

Yudell, M. Race Unmasked: Race and Biology in the 20th Century. (Columbia University Press, September 2014, cloth, May 2018, paperback).

Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
POP 598Special Topics
Expertise Areas: