February 15, 2018

Olszewski awarded Jackson Prize for history article

By Lauren Cotta ’19

Dr. Todd M. Olszewski, Providence College assistant professor of health policy and management, received the 13th annual Stanley Jackson Prize for an article he wrote in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences.

Dr. Todd M. Olszewski
Dr. Todd M. Olszewski

The article, “The Causal Conundrum: The Diet-Heart Debates and the Management of Uncertainty in American Medicine,” examines how medical professionals have debated the causal link between diet and coronary artery disease since the 1950s. Olszewski provides an in-depth medical history regarding cholesterol, diet, heart disease, risk factors, and medical uncertainty.

“My article’s message is important not just for historians, but for everyone: That even things that we assume are scientific facts — like lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease — were not always that way,” said Olszewski.

He noted he was honored to have peers recognize his work, saying, “Historical research is often a solitary endeavor.”

The Stanley Jackson Prize recognizes the best paper to appear in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences in the previous three years, with consideration for early-career authors. The award honors the late Dr. Stanley W. Jackson, the former editor of the journal, president of the American Association for the History of Medicine, and a professor of psychiatry and medical history at Yale Medical School. Recipients are awarded $200 in books from the Oxford University Press catalog.

The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences is published four times each year and receives its articles through author submission. Submitted articles must be approved by the journal’s editor and then are selected through peer review. Olszewski’s winning article was originally published in 2015.

Olszewski, who has expertise in the areas of the history of medicine, biomedical research, and health policy, has taught at PC since 2011. Among the courses he teaches is an intensive writing seminar on pharmaceutical development, regulations, and marketing.

In addition to his piece on the link between diet and heart disease, Olszewski recently had two articles published on other topics in the history of American medicine. In an essay that appears in the Rhode Island Medical Journal, “Practicing Medicine in 1917 Rhode Island,” Olszewski uses editorials published in the journal’s inaugural year, 1917, to examine medical practices in Rhode Island at that time. Another article, on the career and impact of Dr. James Herrick, one of the first cardiologists in the United States, has been published in the Journal of Medical Biography.