Dr. Donna A. Patterson is Professor and Chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy at Delaware State University. She is the Director of Africana Studies and she also teaches for the Department of Public Health. Patterson is a member of the 2021-2022 class of fellows at the Wilson Center where she is working on a project on Ebola.
Dr. Patterson specializes in African and African Diaspora studies with particular expertise in global health, history of medicine, politics, pharmaceutical markets, epidemics, and gender. Her research has taken her to a number of countries in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean with the bulk of her work taking place in Senegal, Ethiopia, and France. Her book Pharmacy in Senegal: Gender, Healing, and Entrepreneurship was published in 2015. Pharmacy in Senegal was featured in NPR and in Pharmacy Times and won the inaugural book club award for Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Global Health Now.
Some examples of Dr. Patterson’s academic work is found in the Journal of Women’s History, Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, and Anthropologie et Santé. Patterson has recently written and co-authored work on COVID-19, Women and politics in Africa and on SDGs. She is currently completing a book on the 2014-2016 West African Ebola epidemic. Dr. Patterson is on the editorial advisory boards of Africa Today and the World Medical and Health Policy Journal. She is also an Associate Review Editor at the American Historical Review. She is also is the inaugural editor of the new book series: Routledge Research in Health and Healing in Africa and the African Diaspora.
Patterson regularly gives lectures, moderates panels, and provides workshops, (topics include: Ebola, COVID-19, global health, Biden-Harris administration, politics, Juneteenth, HBCUs, international security, pharmaceutical markets, women’s health, racial disparities and health to public, academic, and corporate communities. Her op-eds (global health, epidemics: Ebola, Zika, COVID-19, security in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel) and commentary are found at Slate, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, Globe and Mail, South China Morning Post, Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, KJZZ-Phoenix, ABC-47, Christian Science Monitor, African Arguments, and elsewhere.
She has received fellowships from Fulbright IIE, the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), the Woodrow Wilson Center, New America, Princeton University, the American Historical Association, and the West African Research Association. She is also a member of a number of professional associations including the African Studies Association, West African Research Association, the Health and Medicine Coordinate Organization of the African Studies Association, and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security. She holds a research affiliations at the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and was recently a fellow at the African Studies Center at Boston University.
In addition to her academic work, Patterson provides consulting expertise on a variety of issues to corporations, NGOs, law offices, and government agencies. Most recently she has provided counsel on COVID-19 pandemic response and to medical professionals working in West Africa during the Ebola epidemic. Previously, she has advised other entities on U.S. corporate investment in and relocation to West Africa, Sahelian instability, and public health in the Horn of Africa. She worked at the U.S. Embassy in Senegal where she advised businesses and government representatives on public relations, trade, and humanitarian concerns and reported on women’s economic activity in rural and urban Senegal. She also helped to coordinate the U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s Open Skies Summit in Senegal. She also previously worked for a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. and she previously taught at Wellesley College.