Jessica Adler

Affiliate Faculty

Department of History and Department of Health Policy and Management


History of U.S. Health Policy


essica L. Adler researches and teaches about the history of health and social policy in the modern United States. Her first book,  Burdens of War: Creating the United States Veterans Health System (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), is about the World War I-era origins of the nation’s largest integrated health care system. She continues to focus on governmental involvement in health care in her current projects, which examine the history of medical services in U.S. prisons and late twentieth-century transformations in the veterans’ health program.

Adler has contributed articles to peer-reviewed journals, such as the  American Journal of Public Health and the  Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, and book chapters to edited volumes on military and medical history. She has also written for  The Washington Post, The Hill, The Miami Herald, and  USA Today, and led public history and public humanities projects, including reading and discussion groups geared towards military veterans.

Adler’s work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Library of Medicine, Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Florida Humanities Council, the FIU Office of the Provost Humanities Research Initiative, the Doris G. Quinn Foundation, the Institute for Political History, and the U.S. Army Military History Institute. She received a FIU Top Scholar Award in 2019 and a Columbia University Bancroft Dissertation Award in 2013.


Columbia University, Ph.D



Burdens of War: Creating the United States Veterans Health System (Johns Hopkins University Press, August 2017)


“Veterans, Like Other Working- and Middle-Class Americans, Increasingly Rely on Public Health Programs” (American Journal of Public Health, March 2018, 108, No. 3: p. 298-299).

Page, T., M. Williams, G. Cassella, J. Adler, & B. Amick (2017).  “The impact of Zika on local business” (Disaster Prevention & Management, 26, 452-457).

“‘The service I rendered was just as true’: African American soldiers and veterans as activist patients” (American Journal of Public Health, May 2017, 107, no. 5: p. 675-683).

“The Founding of Walter Reed General Hospital and the Beginning of Modern Institutional Army Medical Care in the United States” (Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, October 2014, 69, no. 4, p. 521-553).

Book Chapter

“To Recognize Those Who Served: Gendered Analyses of Veterans’ Policies, Representations, and Experiences” chapter in The Routledge Handbook of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military, Kara Dixon Vuic, ed., New York: Routledge, 2017.

Book Reviews

Ensuring America’s Health book review for Business History Review (Summer 2018).

Medicine in First World War Europe: Soldiers, Medics, Pacifists book review (Social History of Medicine, April 2018, 31, no. 2, p. 432–433).

The Rise of the Military Welfare State (Journal of Economic History, June 2017, 77, no. 2, p. 625-627).

Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran (Journal of Military History, October 2016, 80, No. 4: p. 1285-1286).

The Politics of Wounds: Military Patients and Medical Power in the First World War (Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, January 2016, 71 no. 1: 97-99).

War’s Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America (Reviews in History, July 2014).

Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State, (Enterprise & Society, June 2014, 15, no. 3: p. 588-590).

Encyclopedia Entries

“Department of Veterans Affairs” (Blum, Edward J., ed., America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History. 2 vols. Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2016.)

“Newton Diehl Baker” (International Encyclopedia of the First World War, issued by Freie Universität Berlin,, December 2014)

Popular/Open Source Publications

“The veterans who fought for — and won — government health care” (Washington Post, November 2017)

“The Page 99 Test, Jessica Adler’s Burdens of War: Creating the United States Veterans Health System” (post on, September 2017)

“The Evolution of the Department of Veterans Affairs” (brief for the Scholars Strategy Network, September 2017)

“The Grisly Work of VA Secretaries” (The Hill, January 2017)

“War Vets Find Solace in Stories of Others” (Miami Herald, November 2015)

“Private Care for Veterans? We’ve already tried it” (USA Today, June 2014)

“People Were Skeptical About Veterans’ Hospitals, too: The Affordable Care Act and Health Policy Precedents” (Origins, January 2014)


Active Grants

War and Healing: A Century of Veterans Reintegration, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2018-2019 (Project Director)

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of SMART Hospitals in Jamaica, Guyana, and Belize, Pan American Health Organization, 2017-2019 (Co-Investigator)

Completed Grants and Fellowships (in last five years)

War and Health: Veterans’ Policies and Perspectives, Florida International University, Office of the Provost, Humanities Research Initiative, Individual Research Project in the Humanities, 2016-17 (Project Director)

Bridging the Gap: Linking History PhD Training to Non Academic Employment, National Endowment for the Humanities, Next Generation Planning Grant, 2016-17 (Co-Project Director)

Talking Service, Florida Humanities Council, 2015, 2016 (Program Facilitator)