Kathleen Bachynski

Assistant Professor of Public Health
B.A., University of Michigan
M.P.H., University of Michigan, School of Public Health
Ph.D., Columbia University

Public Health

Research Interests

When and how do people address brain injuries in sports as a public health issue, rather than seeing them as inevitable or as bad luck? Why do some communities require young cyclists to wear helmets, but not others? Most of my research focuses on injury prevention, sports safety and youth health. I am particularly interested in studying when and how injury risks become framed as random accidents versus preventable public health issues; the social contexts that inform changing medical and public health evidence about those risks; and how social and cultural forces such as race, gender, class and mass media have shaped past and present debates over how to prevent injuries.

So far, my biggest project has been completing a book on the history of debates over youth tackle football safety, No Game for Boys to Play: The History of Youth Football and the Origins of a Public Health Crisis (November 2019). Some other topics I've studied include pseudomedicine for sports concussions, bike helmets and overuse injuries. My overarching goal is to contribute to scholarly understandings of the scope and possibilities of public health approaches, in order to ultimately improve the health and well-being of the public.