Derickson, Alan 1948–

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Derickson, Alan 1948–

PERSONAL:

Born December 24, 1948. Education: University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1971; University of Rochester, M.A., 1973; University of California, Berkeley, M.P.H., 1978; University of California, San Francisco, Ph.D., 1986.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Pennsylvania State University, Department of History & Religious Studies Program, 108 Weaver Bldg., University Park, PA 16802. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Academic and historian. University of California, Berkeley, teaching associate in health arts and sciences, 1982-83; Pennsylvania State University, University Park, assistant professor, 1987-90, associate professor, 1990-99, professor, 1999-2004, affiliate professor of history, 2004—, senior scientist of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research, 1991—. Pew Health Policy Research fellow, University of California, San Francisco, Institute for Health Policy Studies, 1983-85; Chancellor's Research fellow, 1985.

MEMBER:

American Association for the History of Medicine, American Historical Association, American Public Health Association, Labor and Working Class History Association, Organization of American Historians, Pennsylvania Labor History Society, Working-Class Studies Association, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Bancroft Library Study Award, 1984; Philip Taft Labor History Award, Cornell University, 1989, for Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy.

WRITINGS:

Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy: The Western Miners' Struggle, 1891-1925, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1988.

Black Lung: Anatomy of a Public Health Disaster, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1998.

Health Security for All: Dreams of Universal Health Care in America, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals and academic journals, including Labor History, Business History Review, Journal of American History, Labor Studies Journal, Industrial Relations, International Journal of Health Services, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Journal of Public Health Policy, and American Journal of Public Health.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alan Derickson is an academic and historian. Born on December 24, 1948, he began his higher education studies at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1971. Two years later he completed a master of arts degree from the University of Rochester. In 1978 Derickson completed a master of public health degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his formal education in 1986 after earning a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco.

Derickson began a career in academia after finishing his Ph.D. The following year he began working as an assistant professor of labor studies and employment relations at Pennsylvania State University, a position he held until being promoted to associate professor in 1990. In 1999 he was made a full professor of labor studies and employment relations. In 2004 he began working as an affiliate professor of history at the same university. Derickson also has worked as a senior scientist at the Center for Health Care and Policy Research at Pennsylvania State University since 1991. Prior to this Derickson served as a Pew Health Policy Research fellow at the University of California, San Francisco's Institute for Health Policy Studies from 1983 to 1985. As a writer Derickson has published articles in a number of periodicals and academic journals, including Labor History, Business History Review, Journal of American History, Labor Studies Journal, Industrial Relations, International Journal of Health Services, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Journal of Public Health Policy, and the American Journal of Public Health.

Derickson published his first book, Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy: The Western Miners' Struggle, 1891-1925, in 1988. The book won Cornell University's Philip Taft Labor History Award in 1989. Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy discusses the activities of the Western Federation of Miners, a democratic union of miners, smelter workers, and others in the refining industry. Derickson shows how they reacted in issues including the health and hospitalization of their members and the dangers of the profession.

Vernon Jensen, writing in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, reflected: "I cannot help but view Derickson's excellent research in this book as complementing my own attempt to detail the very difficult, hectic, and often violent early history of labor unions. Perhaps I should have spent more time examining the subjects that Derickson focuses on here." Jensen concluded: "Well researched and fairly and dispassionately presented, this work takes its place as a worthy addition to labor and industrial relations history, and especially to the history of the WFM."

Ten years later, Derickson published his second book, Black Lung: Anatomy of a Public Health Disaster. The author looks into pneumoconiosis, the so-called black lung that miners get from breathing in fine particles inside mines. He outlines the history of miners' understanding of the problem and how mining conglomerates deceived moderately concerned administrations in the U.S. government over the severity of the problem.

Robert Weissman, reviewing the book in Washington Monthly, pointed out that the account "offers a searing indictment of the industry," calling the book "a richly detailed account of the worker, public, corporate and medical understanding of the diseases … called black lung." Booklist contributor David Rouse called the book an "important [contribution] to the history of the coal industry and its economic and social impact." George H. Hildebrand, writing in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, commented that "Alan Derickson has admirably researched and described this comparatively little known yet important area of American labor history. For those interested in the linkages between rational responses to the urgent problems of the workplace and the interest groups upon which their solutions depend, this study is highly pertinent." A contributor to the International Labour Review suggested that "beyond its value as a detailed historical record," Black Lung's primary "merit is perhaps to highlight the role that social movements can play in redressing the power imbalance between labour and management."

Gerald Markowitz, writing in Labor History, pointed out that "there are two areas where one wishes that Derickson had sharpened and deepened his analysis." Markowitz noted that "while the voices of rank and file miners come through loud and clear in the post-World War II era, they are much more muted in the century before especially in relation to the role of the union on this issue." Markowitz also contended that "Derickson leaves the reader uncertain about the role and responsibility of the UMW in the delay in recognition of disease and the provision of benefits," conceding, though, that "in general he is quite critical, and rightly so, of the national leadership … for doing little to get management to lessen the threat of dust in the mines." Markowitz concluded that "these concerns aside, this in an impressive book and one that should be read by a wide audience." William G. Whittaker, writing in the Labor Studies Journal, found that "minor quibbles notwithstanding, Derickson has produced a useful study with extensive documentation which will nicely supplement other work in this area. It should appeal to students of public policy and of labor history—especially to those with an interest in the United Mine Workers." Robert F. Nardini, writing in Library Journal, observed that this book differs from books with similar topics "in emphasis and detail and in his extensive oral history research on the 1960s insurgency."

In 2005 Derickson published Health Security for All: Dreams of Universal Health Care in America. The account looks at the process the country has gone through to modify its national health insurance coverage. Derickson points out the reasons why the United States does not have universal coverage for its citizens and highlights how administrations in the last part of the twentieth century have moved the country farther away from achieving this goal.

Edward D. Berkowitz, writing in the Journal of Social History, remarked that "one only wishes he could have put his considerable talent to work on the events of the period between 1980 and 2000. Maybe some of the notes could have been trimmed in the interest of a longer text." Berkowitz concluded, however, that "what's here represents a scholarly contribution of the first-order to the history of health care policy in America. This is a book that asks the right questions and contains more than its share of provocative answers."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February 1, 1991, Norman Gevitz, review of Workers' Health, Work-ers' Democracy: The Western Miners' Struggle, 1891-1925, p. 268; April 1, 2000, review of Black Lung: Anatomy of a Public Health Disaster, p. 573.

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 1, 2000, Peter S. Barth, review of Black Lung, p. 198.

Booklist, August 1, 1998, David Rouse, review of Black Lung, p. 1939.

Canadian Historical Review, December 1, 1989, Allen Seager, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 600.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, March 1, 1999, S.T. Fitzgerald, review of Black Lung, p. 1294; January 1, 2006, M. Puskar-Pasewicz, review of Health Security for All: Dreams of Universal Health Care in America, p. 893.

Economic History Review, November 1, 1999, Howell John Harris, review of Black Lung, p. 834.

Historian, August 1, 1990, Stuart D. Brandes, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 673.

Industrial and Labor Relations Review, October 1, 1989, Vernon Jensen, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 155; January 1, 2000, George H. Hildebrand, review of Black Lung, p. 334.

International Labour Review, January 1, 2000, review of Black Lung, p. 100; spring, 2000, review of Black Lung, p. 100.

JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, January 17, 2001, Abdur Rauf Shad, review of Black Lung, p. 339; October 12, 2005, Eric G. Campbell, review of Health Security for All, p. 1826.

Journal of American History, March 1, 1990, Allan Kent Powell, review of Worker' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 1289; September 1, 1999, James Whiteside, review of Black Lung, p. 800; March 1, 2006, Theodore R. Marmore, review of Health Security for All.

Journal of Economic Literature, September 1, 1989, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 1232; September 1, 2005, review of Health Security for All, p. 887.

Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, August 1, 2000, Michael Gochfeld, review of Black Lung, p. 782; August 1, 2006, Beatrix Hoffman, review of Health Security for All, p. 839.

Journal of Social History, summer, 2006, Edward D. Berkowitz, review of Health Security for All, p. 1218.

Journal of Southern History, May 1, 2000, Allan Charles, review of Black Lung, p. 429.

Labor History, March 22, 1991, Martin Cherniak, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 302; November 1, 1999, Gerald Markowitz, review of Black Lung, p. 550.

Labor Studies Journal, spring, 1990, Sara B. Rasch, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 90; fall, 2000, William G. Whittaker, review of Black Lung, p. 120.

Labour/Le Travail, spring, 1990, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 273.

Library Journal, August 1, 1998, Robert F. Nardini, review of Black Lung, p. 118.

New England Journal of Medicine, June 3, 1999, Gregory R. Wagner, review of Black Lung, p. 1770; October 27, 2005, Marian E. Gornick, review of Health Security for All, p. 1866.

Pacific Historical Review, November 1, 1989, Carlos A. Schwantes, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 505.

Research Penn State, June 5, 2008, Charles Fergus, review of Health Security for All.

Reviews in American History, December 1, 1989, Daniel R. Ernst, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 586.

SciTech Book News, December 1, 1998, review of Black Lung, p. 73; June 1, 2005, review of Health Security for All, p. 70.

Washington Monthly, January 1, 1999, Robert Weissman, review of Black Lung, p. 42.

Western Historical Quarterly, February 1, 1990, Duane A. Smith, review of Workers' Health, Workers' Democracy, p. 74.

ONLINE

Pennsylvania State University,http://www.psu.edu/ (June 5, 2008), author profile.