Dr. Jeremy Greene
Dr. Greene is broadly interested in the history of disease, and his research explores the ways in which medical technologies come to influence our understandings of what it means to be sick or healthy, normal or abnormal.
His most recent book, Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine, narrates the history of generic drugs as a means of exploring problems of similarity and difference in modern medicine. Generic drugs are never fully identical to the brand name products they imitate. Rather, their claims to being ‘the same’ lies in proof that they are similar enough in ways that matter to be functionally interchangeable. As the market for generic substitutes has grown–from only 10% of the American pharmaceutical market in 1960 to nearly 80% by 2010–so too have epistemological and epidemiological conflicts over how one can prove that generics are truly equivalent to their brand-name counterparts. These debates over generic drugs reveal fundamental conflicts over what it means to practice rational medicine, and what role consumers, physicians, insurers, and others should have in defining that rationality.
His current project, The Electronic Patient examines how changing expectations of instantaneous communications through electric, electronic, and digital media transformed the nature of medical practice and medical knowledge. This research is focused on recapturing how seemingly mundane communications technologies have enabled and altered the production, circulation, and consumption of medical knowledge, from telegraph to text pager, telephone to telemedicine, fax machine to Facebook. This work has been supported by a Faculty Scholars Fellowship from the Greenwall Foundation and a G13 Award from the National Library of Medicine.
Dr. Greene’s broader research interests focus on the history of disease, medical technology, the history of global health, and the relationship between medicine and the marketplace. He received his MD and PhD in the history of science from Harvard in 2005, completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 2008, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and a member of the American College of Physicians. In addition to his appointment at the Institute for the History of Medicine, he also practiced internal medicine at the East Baltimore Medical Center, a community health center affiliated with Johns Hopkins.