Joel Howell, MD, PhD, MACP, has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan since 1984. In addition to being the Director of the Medical Arts Program, he is a Senior Associate Director of the University of Michigan Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, the Elizabeth Farrand Professor of the History of Medicine, and a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine (Medical School), History (College of LSA), and Health Management and Policy (School of Public Health). He earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago and completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals. At the University of Pennsylvania he was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. He completed his doctorate in the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Howell’s research interests focus on the history of medical technology and the medical humanities. He has written widely on the use of medical technology, examining the social and contextual factors relevant to its clinical application and diffusion, analyzing why American medicine has become so obsessed with the use of medical technology. He has recently published on the history of the fiberoptic endoscope and on diagnostic errors to be learned from a near-apocalyptic cold war miscalculation. Recent projects have started to explore the history of medical education in Ethiopia and the history of cardiology in Brazil. He is also writing on the history of human experimentation, on the use of children’s bodies for anatomic study in the early 20th study, and on ideas about heart attacks.
Howell’s publications have appeared widely in the medical and the historical literature. In addition to his medical publications, Howell is the author of “Washtenaw County Bike Rides” (University of Michigan Press).