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Claire D. Clark, PhD, MPH


(859) 559-9322
110 Medical Behavioral Science Building


  • Associate Professor of Behavioral Science (secondary appointment in the Department of History)
  • Director of Graduate Studies in Clinical and Translational Science
  • Director of Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Behavioral Science

College Unit(s)



Biography and Education


Claire D. Clark, PhD, MPH is a medical educator, health historian, and associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. She holds joint appointments in the University of Kentucky's Department of Behavioral Science and Department of History and is a faculty affiliate of the College of Medicine's Program for Bioethics and Center for Health Equity Transformation. She is committed to integrating the health humanities into medical, graduate, and pre-medical education and is the incoming co-president of the Health Humanities Consortium. She is the author of a peer-reviewed book, The Recovery Revolution: The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States (Columbia University Press, 2017), a genealogy of the industrialization of abstinence-based addiction treatment, as well as the co-curator of archival and oral history collections related to the history of therapeutic community addiction treatment centers in the United States. Her faculty position is primarily teaching-oriented, and she co-directs Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) I and II, a required longitudinal “doctoring” course for first-year medical students across UK’s multiple campuses. ICM consists of more than 20 small groups run by MD/PhD preceptor pairs and covers topics such as doctor-patient communication, grief and loss, medical ethics, health inequities, and substance use and harm reduction. She also serves as Director of Graduate Studies for certificate, MS, and PhD programs in Clinical and Translational Science and offers the program’s graduate seminar in Clinical Research Ethics. In addition, she founded and directs a new interdisciplinary, inquiry-based pre-medical program in medical behavioral science, for which she teaches the capstone course, Shadowing: A Guide to Social Medicine. Shadowing combines an orientation to the health humanities (history of medicine, narrative medicine, visual arts and medicine, social sciences and medicine, and bioethics) with clinical experiences at interprofessional health care sites. Finally, she is developing a graduate course, History of Medicine Among African Americans: Implications for Health Disparities, to be offered jointly by the Departments of Behavioral Science and History beginning in Fall 2024. This course is one of two possible electives that may be taken in fulfillment of the coursework requirement for the Department of Behavioral Science's White Coats for Black Lives Fellowship Program.

Before coming to the University of Kentucky in January 2015, she earned her combined PhD and MPH degrees from Emory University and held fellowships at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Drug Use Work Group in Atlanta, GA. At UKY, she has lead or contributed to educational initiatives that have been supported with grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Institute of International Education Incorporated, and the National Institutes of Health. In 2023, she was appointed a Chellgren Endowed Professor (2023-2026) on the basis of her work with pre-medical students. 


PhD, Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts, Emory University, 2014 (Competitively awarded Graduate Arts & Sciences Fellowship)

MPH, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences, Emory University, 2014 (Competitively awarded Irene K. Woodruff Merit Scholarship)

AB, Film (Correlate: Philosophy), Vassar College, 2003 (Competitively awarded Ford Foundation Summer Research Fellowship; Lilo Stern Memorial Prize for Best Paper in Anthropology or Sociology; Phi Beta Kappa; General Honors; Departmental Honors)


Selected Publications

Jacob Steere-Williams, Justin Barr, Claire D. Clark, and Raúl Necochea López, "Remaking the Case for History in Medical Education" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 78, no. 1 (2023): 1-8. (Introduction to a Special Issue of JHMAS on integrating the history of medicine into health professions education)

The Recovery Revolution: The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States (Columbia University Press, 2017)

Claire D. Clark and Emily Dufton, “Peter Bourne’s Drug Policy and the Perils of a Public Health Ethic” American Journal of Public Health, 105, no. 2 (2015): 283-292. (Winner, Paper of the Year Award from the American Public Health Association)

“Archival Research” chapter in Research Methods in Health Humanities, edited by Craig Klugman and Erin Gentry Lamb (Oxford University Press, 2019)

“‘Chemistry is the New Hope’: Therapeutic Communities and Methadone Maintenance, 1965-1971” Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 26, no. 2 (2012): 192–216.