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David Merritt Johns, PhD, MPH

Postdoctoral Fellow

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David Merritt Johns, PhD, MPH



David Merritt Johns is a public health historian, journalist, and postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Public Health. He has written widely on the use of evidence in clinical and public health decision making and the politics of preventive medicine and public health. He received his PhD and MPH degrees from Columbia University, where he worked as a research officer at the Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. His scholarly work has been published in Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, The Lancet, The Milbank Quarterly, The American Journal of Public Health, Big Data & Society, and elsewhere. He is an affiliate of the Data & Society Research Institute, a think tank focused on the social, cultural, and ethical implications of “Big Data” and other new technologies. His current research projects include several studies of controversies in nutrition, an examination of the challenge of separating legitimate from illegitimate dissent in the current misinformation age, and a history of the debates over what should count as evidence for child well care. His popular writing and commentary has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Slate, Modern Farmer, and various public radio shows. He has a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    Columbia University (2019)
  • MPH
    Columbia University (2013)

Departments & Organizations