Center for Healthcare History and Policy

The Center for Healthcare History and Policy (CHHAP) aims to establish and sustain a hub of collaboration, dissemination and community building across Emory University and Healthcare for scholarly research, education, and service at the intersection of history and healthcare policy.

Our mission is to expand and integrate knowledge about the historical, structural and social factors affecting health care, analyzing the ways that disparities are created, perpetuated, and experienced. The aims of the Center are to advance scholarship, education, and innovation that helps educators and leaders move health care systems towards justice.

  • The Center will provide a forum for the dissemination of new knowledge, foster collaboration, and support existing projects across Emory University and Healthcare. The Center will have three activity streams: Research, Education and Service, and will serve multiple groups across Emory and the broader Atlanta community.

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Current Projects:

  • The development of resources and modules for the integration of history into nursing and health care curricula in collaboration with the SON Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • An examination of the history of segregation and Civil rights in psychiatric hospitals across the South
  • An analysis of community mental health policy and the overlay with policing in Atlanta
  • A Public History seminar series on the legacy of Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia
  • Documenting the experiences of young people with disability in juvenile detention
  • The history of drug use and implications for policy in Little Five Points, Atlanta
  • Analyzing the history of approaches to Black women’s health from the transatlantic slave trade to current disparities


  • The Center will host an incubator mixer in early 2023 where interested and potential members can exchange ideas and make links across projects.
  • Other planned events include guest lectures from internationally recognized historians of health care and policy; a “Using archival sources” workshop for Honors and PhD students; and a showcase of student projects.
  • In Spring 2023 we will issue a call for proposals for a limited amount of small grants to support student or faculty work at the intersection of history, policy and health care justice.
  • The Center will also be seeking to recruit a PhD student interested in undertaking an interdisciplinary study on any aspect of health care history and policy.


Founding Director - Dr. Kylie Smith

Dr. Smith is an internationally recognized historian of psychiatry and nursing and has made contributions to both historical and nursing scholarship. She obtained her PhD in History from the University of Wollongong in Australia and undertook postdoctoral research at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Her book “Talking Therapy: Knowledge and Power in American Psychiatric Nursing” (Rutgers University Press, 2020) received the 2020 Lavinia L. Dock award from the American Association for the History of Nursing and First Place, History and Policy from the American Journal of Nursing Book Awards. Her new book, Jim Crow in the Asylum: Psychiatry and Civil Rights in the American South, is under contract with UNC Press and supported by the G13 Award from the National Library of Medicine (NIH). Dr. Smith’s work has been supported by grants from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Association for the History of Nursing, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Emory University Research Council.

At Emory Dr. Smith teaches classes on the history of race in US health care, the history of psychiatry, and on the theory and philosophy of nursing science. She frequently guest lectures on the history of race and racism in health care, the theory and history of psychiatric nursing, and the history of medical civil rights. She has been an invited guest speaker at the National Library of Medicine, the University of Minnesota, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University, and delivered Grand Rounds at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital at White Plains, and Emory Psychiatry.

For information about the Center or to enquire about membership please contact Dr. Kylie Smith at

Steering Committee

Claire Sterk, PhD, President Emerita, Charles Howard Candler Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Kimberly Jacob Arriola, PhD, Dean, Laney Graduate School, Emory University

Joseph Crespino, PhD, Jimmy Carter Professor of History, Department of History, Emory University

Julie Fairman, PhD, Nightingale Professor in Honor of Nursing Veterans, Emeritas; Director Emeritas, Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania.

Dominique Tobell, PhD, Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing and director of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry at the University of Virginia.

Fayron Epps, PhD, Assistant Professor , Director of Community Engagement & Research, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University

Jasmine Clark, PhD, Senior Instructor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Georgia State Representative – House District 108

Dr. Kylie Smith