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NLM Announces 2021 Michael E. DeBakey Fellows in the History of Medicine

December 16, 2020

Following its February 24, 2020, call for applications to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine, the NLM is pleased to announce its 2021 DeBakey Fellows:

Jessica L. Adler, PhD
Associate Professor, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
  and Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Florida International University
Research Project – Minimal Standards of Adequacy: A History of Health Care in U.S. Prisons

Scottie Hale Buehler, CPM, PhD
Visiting Research Affiliate, Institute for Historical Studies
University of Texas at Austin
Research Project – Being and Becoming a Midwife in the French Atlantic (1750-1820)

Kirsten Ostherr, PhD, MPH
Gladys Louise Fox Professor and Chair, Department of English,
  and Director of the Program in Medical Humanities
Rice University
Research Project – The Visual History of Computational Health

The NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine is made possible through a gift from The DeBakey Medical Foundation.

Michael E. DeBakey (1908-2008) was a legendary American surgeon, educator, and medical statesman. During a career spanning 75 years, his work transformed cardiovascular surgery, raised medical education standards, and informed national health care policy. He pioneered dozens of operative procedures including aneurysm repair, coronary bypass, and endarterectomy, which routinely save thousands of lives each year, and performed some of the first heart transplants. His inventions included the roller pump, a key component of heart-lung machines, as well as artificial hearts and ventricular assist pumps. He was a driving force in building Houston's Baylor University College of Medicine into a premier medical center, where he trained several generations of top surgeons from all over the world. Michael DeBakey was instrumental in bringing the NLM to the NIH campus and served for many years on NLM’s Board of Regents.

In addition to undertaking their research projects, the NLM’s Michael E. DeBakey Fellows will be expected to:

  • consult with NLM staff on existing finding aids and related resources, to improve the Library's knowledge of the collections, so this knowledge can be better shared;
  • meet the expectations of the NIH public access policy for publicly supported work, and acknowledge the NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine in any resulting publications;
  • be available to the NLM Office of Communications & Public Liaison (OCPL) and History of Medicine Division for interviews;
  • author at least one guest blog post for Circulating Now, based on her/his research, as previous fellows have done and which are available as a collection here.

Each year a fellow is invited to present an annual NLM Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine, as part of the History of Medicine Division’s annual NLM History Talks.

For further information about the materials available for historical research at the NLM, please visit, or contact the NLM History of Medicine reference desk via NLM Customer Support, or by phone at 301-402-8878. Questions about the NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine may be directed to these same points of contact.


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: December 16, 2020