Bernice Hausman


Professor and Chair, Department of Humanities,
Professor, Public Health Sciences


  • Health & Medicine

Focus Areas:

  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Disease


  • Bernice Hausman is available to comment on vaccine hesitancy and the COVID-19 pandemic, the demographic factors influencing opposition to the recently released COVID-19 vaccine, and the cultural factors that form the principles behind vaccine resistance and refusal.
  • She can be consulted about the history of vaccine resistance, vaccine mandates, and controversies about vaccine injury.
  • She can also speak more generally about the origins of and factors contributing to the public's mistrust in science and medicine.

Bernice Hausman is a professor and chair of humanities and professor of public health sciences in the Penn State College of Medicine. Her research focuses on medical controversies in the public sphere, particularly related to vaccines and infant feeding. She addresses the cultural contexts in which these medical controversies are staged, exploring the ways in which people engage in and make sense of them. Her most recent work seeks to understand vaccine dissent as a persistent and culturally meaningful aspect of modern societies.

Hausman has published scholarly articles in numerous academic journals, including Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Journal of Medical Humanities, New Literary History, and Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, among others. During the coronavirus pandemic she has served as a go-to expert for media commentary on public attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccines.

In The Media

"It's a problem of repairing the lack of trust in the government, in pharmaceutical companies, and in public health.The most important thing these key players can do is let people know they're going to be cared for."

"Public health professionals are going to have to have a story that gets out in front of [stories like Hutchison's]—that responds to the way that people are going to try to make that a story about vaccine injury."

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