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Alumnae Stories

Alumna Elected to NAM, One of the Highest Honors in Health and Medicine

November 2018

Evelynn HammondsEvelynn Hammonds, Ph.D., C'76, is one of 85 newly elected members of the National Academy of Medicine.  Dr. Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz professor and chair of the Department of History of Science, and professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard University, was elected for being one of the nation’s most influential historians investigating the relationship of race, science and medicine; and for her work in clarifying the use of the concept of race as it relates to important health disparities.

Dr. Hammonds began her academic career in electrical engineering and physics, but transitioned to the history of science because she “wanted to understand the underrepresentation of Black people in STEM, and to debunk the opinion that Black people can’t do science.”

Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

Dr. Hammonds and the Logic of Difference

Dr. Hammonds' current work focuses on the intersection of scientific, medical, and socio-political concepts of race in the United States. She is completing a history of biological, medical, and anthropological uses of racial concepts entitled, The Logic of Difference: A History of Race in Science and Medicine in the United States , 1850–1990. She is also completing the MIT Reader on Race and Gender in Science co-edited with Rebecca Herzig and Abigail Bass.

She earned a Ph.D. in the Department of History of Science at Harvard, an S.M. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a B.E.E. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in physics from Spelman College. She taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before coming to Harvard. While at MIT she was the founding director of the MIT Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine.