Jeffrey Paul Baker

Jeffrey Paul Baker
Professor of Pediatrics
Third Year Mentor - Medical Humanities Study Program (MED HUM)
Campus mail: 234 Crooked Creek Parkway, Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 620-5374

I am a practicing pediatrician and a medical historian.   My early research focused on the early history of premature infant care and neonatal medicine.   Featured in my book, The Machine in the Nursery: Incubator Technology and the Origins of Neonatal Intensive Care, I examined how the controversy around the introduction of baby incubators at the dawn of the 20th century became a flash point for broader anxieties around medical technology, eugenics, and the role of physicians versus mothers in the care of young infants.   
My later research moved to this history of vaccines, and why this highly-regarded public health intervention ignited fierce public resistance in the late 20th century.  The alleged links between vaccines and autism were an important part of this story which led me to work on other aspect of the history of autism as well.  I have spoken and written in particular about the role of Leo Kanner in shaping both the definition of autism and the construction of an associated stereotype of parents as brilliant but cold and aloof.

Education and Training

  • Duke University, M.D. 1984
  • Duke University, Ph.D. 1993


Childhood vaccine development: an overview.

Vaccines against childhood diseases represent some of the most important applications of 20th-century pediatric research. This survey examines how the components of the current U.S.