Colgrove is a king, periodt. 8:40 every t/th i was HYPE to learn from his expertise. Colgrove knows how to work a class/engage students. SO much to absorb by looking at public health through a historical lens (pre bacteriological revolution to present). I also loved that the papers were on topics of your choice so no one was pressed to write down everything he said. We could just lean into the class, critically listen, and really learn. I feel like I am so much more aware of my surroundings and everything public health does. He is so passionate. Literally, would give him my kidney. PLEASE TAKE THIS CLASS. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. Even if you are neither pre-health or history focused, so worth it.
Yeesh, this has really been difficult. I loved the course a lot, until Covid hit. When Prof. Colgrove didn't adjust the length of the large research paper to fit the fact that we are in a literal public health crisis, I was rather discouraged. While many professors have been accommodating and understanding, he has not been, something I find rather ironic, given that he is an authority on the subject and should understand the amount of stress this imposes on people's psyches. :/
Take this class. Colgrove is so caring and nice, and most importantly the class opens your eyes to a wide variety of issues (the lecture spans from colonial time up until the 21 C, covering all sorts of important public health issues.) He does a great job at presenting multiple perspectives on issues and always asks engaging ethical questions about subject material. Also very interesting with respect to Covid-19.
I took this course as a first-year in the fall. Since it was an upper-level course, I was nervous about the workload. Professor Colgrove and the TAs, however, were approachable both in person and responded to emails to help answer any questions I had about the readings and/or the 2 papers (mid-term and final). The class itself did not fall short of my expectations whatsoever because of my deep interest in public health, but more importantly, the social determinants of health. Although it was an 8:40 class, Colgrove masters the art of PowerPoints and organizes his lectures with interactive videos and role-plays about public health practices during the 19th Century helped me interact and engage so early in the morning. With all that being said, TAKE HIS CLASS. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. He's a great person to talk to as well if you intend to pursue a career in public health bc he works at the Mailman School.
Colgrove himself is a wonderful lecturer. Whether you complete all the reading or not, his lectures give a comprehensive view of the points made throughout the reading. Not only does he teach us the history of public health, but he also keeps the class interactive and relatable by interspersing it with videos and images and tying it back to how these public health policies relate to or affect us now. We've done class debates and a simulation of what immigrants would go through at Ellis Island, all of which were very fun! The time of the class may or may not work for most, as it's 8:40 in the morning (or at least when I took it). However, I still strongly recommend this class nonetheless. The workload is managebale, although some of the readings were 40-100 pages total; however, the papers are skimmable and you learn to find what main points to look for in terms of looking at the development of certain public health issues. There are two papers (a midterm paper and final paper), both of which are manageable. The TAs are very helpful in writing these, though I would suggest going beforehand rather than starting it the day before the due date. Their office hours really helped save my grade for one of the papers. There is a discussion session for this class.
This class is hands down the best class I have ever taken at Columbia. I agree 100% with the review below and am mostly writing this so that Colgrove will get a gold nugget. Social History of American Public Health is the perfect amount of work, and the perfect amount of material. At Columbia it's always hard to find classes where you will actually be able to enjoy the class because we usually get so trodden down by the insane workload and difficult exams. That is NOT the case with this class- you can easily keep up while still enjoying going to class. Colgrove does not assign any irrelevant assignments or busy work. Colgrove is the best lecturer I have witnessed yet: he is a great speaker which always makes his lectures fascinating. Even though he mostly just talks, he never reads off notes and he uses a lot of video clips and other visual aids to break up his talking. The class covers major events in the history of public health and each week is devoted to a different topic. The readings are quite heavy but you can skim most of them and still understand what is going on in the class. You have three grades in the class: participation - mostly just how much you participate in discussion (And your weekly post) 1st paper- a 5 page historiography on the topic of your choice (isn't as nearly as bad as it sounds and the TAs are more than willing to help) 2nd paper- around 15 pages on the same topic but with primary sources to back up historical arguments (also not as bad as it sounds) There is a mandatory discussion section which I hated at first but if you really like public health and you don't mind participating for 50 minutes a week in small groups then it's actually really enjoyable. I had George as a TA and he was brilliant, if a little cocky, at leading discussion. Take this class if you are at all interested in history, medicine, health or sociology. It's great!
GIVE THE MAN A GOLD NUGGET. One of the most engaging speakers I have ever encountered, at Columbia or otherwise. Colgrove is at once insightful, brilliant, wonderfully articulate, and an expert deadpanner. He is a maestro of the powerpoint, filling it with media from videos, 19th century magazines, newspapers, and other documents to illustrate the colorful history of public health in America. The class material is well chosen, and the readings are substantial but on the slightly shorter side for a history class and could be skimmed because Colgrove is so crystal clear about the important takeaways in his lecture that you hardly have to take notes. If you do, a quick glance at them a week later would re-tell the narrative of that class. You'd be missing out to skip the readings, though, nearly all of which were worthwhile. Shout-out to TA Ian Shin, an exceptional discussion section leader. He brought further insight into the texts, compared them well, and helped us synthesize and consider the broader narratives of the course. He was accessible for help week to week, and literally cleared his schedule to support us come midterm and final papers. Do yourself a favor and take anything Colgrove teaches.
Professor Colgrove is an amazing teacher. I genuinely enjoy going to class everyday. The class isn't just interesting - but interactive is well. He is constantly engaging us in debates and or giving us worksheets to fill out with partners. Even though there are close to 60 people in the class, it still feels small and Professor Colgrove seems to know everyones name. The material is fascinating as well and the readings are never too long. He also explains the readings in class and shows movies or commercials or newspaper articles that make add to the readings. He's great and if you have any interest in medicine or public health this is definitely a class for you.
If you have an interest in public health, you must take this class. Professor Colgrove is, hands down, the most engaging lecturer I have ever encountered at Columbia. From his use of video clips and pictures to give us a visual perspective on the historical era and subject matter to his surprise use of small group discussion on certain days, he always kept class interesting. I also appreciated his wit and the occasional vehement disdain for certain politicians past. Overall, you will learn a ton about how disease and public health interventions came to shape America--highly recommended for anyone at all interested in health or medicine.
While I definitely agree with what much of the previous post said, I think it gives the class a little too much credit. As a person, David Rosner is by far one of the most interesting people I have ever met. However, lecture can become redundant. If you're one of those students that feels compelled to always go to class and feels guilty about skipping, this class might be the bane of your existence. There are times though when they class is very enjoyable. If your TA is Kylin...switch.
Rosner's class is definitely one of the most interesting that I've taken in my four years here. I bought all the books for the class (about 6) in the beginning of the semester and planned to re-sell them after the class ended, but I'm now going to keep them so that I can read them over break and use them as references for the future. I didn't take many notes during lecture, but all the discussions there and in section were really enlightening and I regret not having done more of the reading. It seemed like most people hadn't done the reading (at least very well), because Rosner had some trouble getting people to participate and answer questions about it, but he was pretty genial about it and assumed the best, which made me feel a little guilty after each class. In addition to going over the reading, we looked at political cartoons, movie animations, advertisements and youtube videos, and had at least two classes when Rosner posted lyrics on the computer screen and we all were instructed to sing along as part of the learning experience. Hands down awesome experience.
This was possibly one of the best classes I have taken at Columbia. Rosner gives a great overview of major issues in American public health, beginning with colonial health and tracing the development of cities, epidemics, and bacteriological theory, then moving into issues such as lead, tobacco, AIDs, and vaccination. Rosner is essentially an incredibly intelligent teddybear--he's both extremely experienced in his field but also approachable and really tries to make the class fun and interesting, outlining major themes and mottos over the past few hundred years. I emailed him about my first paper and he not only gave me a million different sources, he also set up a meeting for me with another professor at the school of public health who is an expert in my field--he's always willing to help out students in any way possible and is genuinely interested in both his subject and his students. Definitely take this if it's offered again!
I took Social History of American Public Health the first time it was offered, in Fall 2009, and I absolutely loved this class. Probably one of my favorite ever in my career at Columbia. It is offered through the history department, but plenty of premed kids also take it so there is a good balance of history and science. It's taught seminar style, with the professor asking a lot of questions, which may sometimes seem boring and pointless as first when your classmates are largely incorrect; however, the arc of the course is broad and extremely clear, and although many time periods are simplified down to a few rules and "mottos," you do come out of the class with a good general idea of what the history of public health has been. The professor himself is amazingly charismatic, very personable - makes a huge effort to learn your name if you speak up in class (even in a class of about 50 kids), draws upon his wide personal experience and generally is humorous and a really nice guy. I think he is offering it again so take the class if you're interested in this type of thing at all.