Alice Domurat Dreger


After years of trying, I’m going to admit that I don’t know how to easily describe what I do. Most of my work involves humanities-based scholarship centered on science and medicine. I also write essays about medicine, science, and real life for places like the New York Times and The Atlantic and Pacific Standard, and I provide writing, listening, and policy development services to reformist clinicians, struggling parents, patient advocacy groups, and adults with traumatic medical histories. I’m interested in truth and justice.

My fancy title is Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. I used to be a traditional academic, but in 2005 I gave up tenure in order to work part-time. In fact, I work full-time, but choosing to keep my job at Northwestern officially part-time keeps my set responsibilities reasonable, allowing me to remain highly flexible and productive. I’d rather live an interesting life than a monetarily richer one. How can I afford this? As my university business card says, I’m not a doctor, but I sleep with one. (Yes, it really says that. Please don’t tell my dean.)

Feel free to poke around this site. If you’re interested in knowing a bit more about  my background, you might check out the interview I did with the Atlantic Monthly. If you want to read some of my stuff, and you want something short, I’d recommend the four essays I wrote for the New York Times on sex testing in sports (one, two, three, four). Or if you want to laugh and to think about stuff you probably never have before, try Lavish Dwarf Entertainment (selected for Norton’s annual “Best Creative Non-Fiction” volume). If you feel like hearing about an amazing story of grief and recovery, consider reading Products of Conception.

If you’d like to see examples of the investigative historical scholarship I’ve conducted, here are my three most recent projects, all available for free online:

  1. “Prenatal Dexamethasone for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: An Ethics Canary in the Modern Medical Mine,” as covered in Slate;

  2. “Darkness’s Descent on the American Anthropological Association,” as covered in Science;

  3. “The Controversy Surrounding “The Man Who Would Be Queen,” my Guggenheim Fellowship-winning work, as covered in the New York Times.

Welcome to my site. I hope you enjoy wandering around.


Current addiction: bookish heavens

Current excuse: ashes to ashes, dandelions to dandelions

John Green thinks you might want to read One of Us

All original material © Alice Domurat Dreger, 1996-2013.

Welcome to my site.