Heather Dron is a historian of medicine and public health who studies pregnancy, prenatal care, and infant disability. She completed her PhD in history of health science at the University of California San Francisco in 2016 and is a former fellow at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
Her dissertation examined research on studied environmental exposures during pregnancy in the mid-twentieth century U.S. She’s interested in research on teratogenic or mutagenic health effects, particularly pregnancy outcomes such as infant anomalies (“birth defects”), and how these concerns were communicated to the public. Her work highlights epistemic questions, as researchers used diverse methodologies to define probable exposures and infant health outcomes. As such, her work engages with a broad range of scholarship pertaining to eugenics, maternal bodies, reproductive justice, and disability.
Her subsequent research examines the history and ethical implications of eugenics and genetics in California, particularly as they pertain to reproductive justice. Using mixed methods, she examines patient experience, consent, and autonomy in the context of genetics, eugenic sterilization, and reproductive health interventions.