Click below to access the main timeline and view key moments in over 500 years of history that have shaped the landscape of health and care in the United States. You can navigate to a particular date on the timeline, filter the data by selected topics, do a keyword search, or view one of our curated stories and timelines. Read more about How to Use This Timeline here.
This is a tool designed to understand the histories of medical experimentation, scientific racism, racial capitalism, and ableism as some of the many forces shaping the conditions and evolution of healthcare in the US, as well as the resistance of grassroots healers, health practitioners, and organizers working both inside and outside of the Medical Industrial Complex.Explore Timeline
The Story of the Colonizer Wound
The violence of turning life into objects to be traded or sold began generations before Columbus stepped foot on Turtle Island. This story looks at the racial capitalist belief systems and cultural constructs that shape many of the strategies of Western medicine.
The Story of Tuberculosis
Public “hygiene” campaigns organized by the white-led Anti-Tuberculosis Movement embedded racism and classism into the treatment of this bacterial disease. Black care workers organized integrative care strategies in response that were then co-opted by the state.
The Story of Marine Health
The roots of the U.S. public health system emerged from a system that supported sea merchants and sailors involved in the transatlantic trade. This story tracks the development of systems of public health surveillance and control designed to protect borders and profit.
The Story of Disability Justice
Disability Justice is “a political, cultural practice and series of strategies and tactics that assert and agitate from the lived belief that our disabled, Deaf, sick bodies and minds are enough as we are” (Anti-Eugenics Movement Strategy Huddle).
The Story of COVID-19
A granular look at how chaos, care, and control shape healthcare practices, research, and policy through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. This story examines ongoing expressions of generations of racism, xenophobia, and ableism alongside numerous stories of resistance.
The timeline includes many different topics across centuries of history. The following filter tags can be used to sort the material by your particular areas of interest. Hover over the abbreviated filter to reveal the full title, or click the filter to view all timeline points with that tag. For a more complete search, please use the search function.
Healing Histories Project deepens and expands relationships between and among abolitionist healers/health practitioners, community organizers, researchers/historians & cultural workers building solidarity to interrupt the Medical Industrial Complex and harmful systems of care. We generate change through research, action, and building collaborative strategies & stories with BIPOC-led communities, institutions, and movements organizing for dignified collective care.Learn More
Over time, we will be releasing new curated stories, curriculum, and tools related to the Medical Industrial Complex timeline and other Healing Histories Project work. We will also be sharing resources from partners that expand on the work of transforming the Medical Industrial Complex and interrupting the conditions that fuel it. You can think of this “curriculum” as a study guide. It’s a suggestion for how you might use the Healing Histories Project timelines as tools. This means it’s largely a series of questions designed to support your interaction with the material on these pages.Learn More