Managing bodies in a land of plenty: obesity in America

Deborah Levine, PhD, to give talk as part of Women’s History Month

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

March 08, 2011
Deborah Levine, PhD

Health policy expert Deborah Levine, PhD, will be at UMass Medical School on Wednesday, March 15, to present Managing Bodies in the Land of Plenty: A medical and cultural history of obesity in America. Her talk will be held from noon to 1 p.m., with light lunch served at 11:30 a.m., in the Faculty Conference Room. The event is sponsored in recognition of Women’s History Month by the Women’s Faculty Committee, the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office, the Professional Women’s Committee and the Lamar Soutter Library.  

Dr. Levine is assistant professor of health policy and management at Providence College in Rhode Island, where she has been a faculty member since 2009. She earned her PhD at Harvard University in 2007 and completed a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Washington University. Levine is an expert in the history of medicine, medical technology and obesity. In a 2009 Newsweek magazine story that explored why our overweight nation seems to hate overweight people, she drew connections between societal changes throughout the 20th century that have caused some Americans to be repulsed by obesity as we as a nation become heavier and heavier. 

Levine is passionate about finding ways to make sure that obesity is taken seriously as a medical problem while not increasing the animosity people have toward the overweight, many of whom already live healthy lives or may be working hard to make healthier choices. "The idea is to fight obesity and not obese people," she said. "But it's very hard for many people to disentangle the two." 

To RSVP to the event or for more information, visit To learn more about Women’s History Month, visit

Related links: 

Lamar Soutter Library 
Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office 
Women’s Faculty Committee