Joel Braslow

Joel Braslow
Frances M. O’Malley Endowed Chair in Neuroscience History, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and History at UCLA

areas of expertise
  • Social, cultural, historical, and scientific context of treatment practices for severe mental illness
  • Contemporary mental health services for severe mental illness
education
  • PhD, History of Science, UCLA 
  • MD, Loma Linda University

Dr. Joel Braslow is a psychiatrist and historian whose work focuses on the social, cultural, and scientific constitution of therapeutic practices in medicine and psychiatry. His work examines twentieth-century American psychiatric practices, employing historical and health services research methods. He has been a faculty member in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences since 1992, and the UCLA Department of History since 1996. Dr. Braslow received his M.D. from Loma Linda University and his Ph.D. in History of Science from UCLA. His first book, “Mental Ills and Bodily Cures,” examined the ways in which physicians employed somatic and biological therapies, and how these uses were shaped by social and cultural concerns. Currently, he is working on “Antipsychotic drugs: science, practice, and culture, a history of antipsychotic drugs” from the 1950s to the present. The primary aim of this project is to explore how social and cultural factors shape, and are shaped by, clinical and scientific practices. This project is funded by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Career Development Award and aims to integrate methods from history, anthropology, and health services research.

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