Dominique Tobbell, director of the Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry
Tobbell is an award-winning teacher and historian of 20th c. American healthcare whose work focuses on how race, gender, class, sexuality, and disability informs patients' access and experience.

Professor Dominique Tobbell has been named director of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry at UVA School of Nursing.

Tobbell—who’s originally from the United Kingdom and assumes her new role at UVA in late December—will teach nursing history courses to both undergraduate and graduate nursing students starting in February 2021, and, through the spring, will serve concurrently with former director Barbra Mann Wall, the Thomas A. Saunders III Professor of Nursing, who retires in May 2021.

With her impressive background as a researcher and teacher, Dominique will continue the Bjoring Center’s stellar commitment to and leadership in the field of nursing history. I am one of so many who’s excited to have her on board.

Dean Pam Cipriano

Tobbell comes to UVA from the University of Minnesota where she directed the Program in the History of Medicine, served as an associate professor, an oral historian for UMN’s Academic Health Center’s History Project, and an affiliate faculty at its Institute for Health Informatics. Prior to her work in the Twin Cities, she taught history courses at both the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

An image of the book Pills, Power, and Policy, by UVA prof. and historian Dominique TobbellTobbell’s scholarship focuses on the complex political, economic, and social relationships that developed after World War II between universities, governments, and the healthcare industry and that continue to impact modern-day systems. She’s taught a variety of courses on the history of twentieth century American healthcare and focuses on the ways race, gender, class, sexuality, and disability determine Americans’ experiences with and access to healthcare, work that will complement work already being done at the Bjoring Center and through the School's Inclusion, Diversity, and Excellence Achievement initiative. 

In addition to a rich assortment of scholarly publications, Tobbell is author of two books: Pills, Power, and Policy: The Struggle for Drug Reform in Cold War America and its Consequences (University of California Press, 2012), and Health Informatics at Minnesota: The First Fifty Years (Tasora Books, 2015).

She’s currently at work on a third book—Dr. Nurse: Science, Politics, and the Transformation of American Nursing (under contract with the University of Chicago Press)—which examines American nurses’ more expansive roles in the post-World War II era.

Tobbell has earned fellowships with the Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, UVA’s Miller Center, the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center, and with the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. She has also served as a board member of the American Association for the History of Nursing since 2018.

Tobbell earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Manchester, and both a Master of Art and a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.