Professor and Chair, Department of Humanities
Professor, Public Health Sciences
Diggs Professor Emerita, Virginia Tech
Bernice L. Hausman, PhD, has a background in literature and women’s studies. She has been researching medicine and culture since the early 1990s and writes specifically on medical controversies in the public sphere. Her research areas include medical technology and ideas about gender, breastfeeding and infant feeding debates, HIV transmission through breastfeeding, and vaccination controversy. She addresses the cultural contexts in which medical controversies are staged, exploring the ways in which people engage in and make sense of them. Her most recent work challenges public health and the public to understand vaccine dissent as a persistent and culturally meaningful aspect of modern societies.
Her scholarly articles have been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Journal of Medical Humanities, New Literary History, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, among others. Since 2010, she has led a team of student researchers in studying various aspects of vaccination controversy.
Before coming to Penn State College of Medicine in 2018, Dr. Hausman was on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she directed the Medicine and Society minor from 2005 to 2013.