As the Institute’s public history fellow in 20th-century clinical medicine, Amanda L. Mahoney employs the organization’s museum collections to engage our many audiences with the history of the health and life sciences. Her work fosters dialogue on the often fraught relationship between science, society, and the body, and challenges clinicians and scientists to think critically about the influence of historical, social, and cultural context on their practice. Mahoney builds exhibitions, programs, social media, and conference workshops that explore the connections between science, clinical practice, and health-related technologies. Her work also promotes the value of material culture as a scholarly resource and teaching tool.
She recently completed her doctorate at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation examines the critical role of nurses at work in important clinical trials during the 1930s through 1960s. In the era before formal study protocols, nurses shouldered the responsibility of ensuring high-quality scientific data through their authority over the patient bedside. Nurses also drew on their extensive technological and social skills to implement experimental technologies such as feeding pumps in the understaffed hospitals of the mid-20th century.
Mahoney has presented her work at the American Association for the History of Nursing, the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses, and the American Association for the History of Medicine. She has taught History, Health, and Social Policy, a graduate seminar, and Gender, Race, and Class in American Healthcare since 1945, an honors seminar, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.