Professor Largent is an historian of science, technology and medicine. His research and teaching focuses on the role of scientists and physicians in American public policy. He has written on the evolution-creation debate, the professionalization of American biology, Darwinism, the history of the American eugenics movement, and recent debates over compulsory vaccination. He is the author of Breeding Contempt: The History of Coerced Sterilization in the United States (2008), Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America (2012), and Keep Out of Reach of Children: Reye’s Syndrome, Aspirin, and the Politics of Public Health (2015).
Areas of Expertise (7)
History of Darwin
History of Science
History of Biology
University of Minnesota: Ph.D., History of Science and Technology
Journal Articles (3)
A survey instrument for measuring vaccine acceptancePreventive Medicine
Dilshani Sarathchandra, Mark C Navin, Mark A Largent, Aaron M McCright
2018 Accurately measuring vaccine acceptance is important, especially under current conditions in which misinformation may increase public anxiety about vaccines and politicize vaccination policies. We integrated substantive knowledge, conceptualization and measurement expertise, and survey design principles to develop an instrument for measuring vaccine acceptance across the general public. Given this broad goal, we expect our novel instrument will complement, rather than replace, existing instruments designed specifically to measure parents' vaccine hesitancy...
Prioritizing Parental Liberty in Non-medical Vaccine Exemption Policies: A Response to Giubilini, Douglas and SavulescuPublic Health Ethics
Mark C Navin, Mark A Largent
2017 In a recent paper published in this journal, Giubilini, Douglas and Savulescu argue that we have given insufficient weight to the moral importance of fairness in our account of the best policies for non-medical exemptions (NMEs) to childhood immunization requirements. They advocate for a type of policy they call Contribution, according to which parents must contribute to important public health goods before their children can receive NMEs to immunization requirements. In this response, we argue that Giubilini, Douglas and Savulescu give insufficient weight to the moral importance parental liberty in ways that count against their preferred type of NMEs policy and threaten public support for mandatory vaccination laws and public health initiatives generally...
Improving nonmedical vaccine exemption policies: three case studiesPublic Health Ethics
Mark Christopher Navin, Mark Aaron Largent
2017 Some communities that exempt parents from vaccine mandates have recently reformed their exemption policies by eliminating nonmedical exemptions, allowing nonmedical exemptions only for parents who object to vaccination for religious reasons, or making exemptions more difficult to obtain. We argue against eliminating nonmedical exemptions because there are weighty moral reasons to offer these exemptions and because eliminating them will likely have unfortunate social and political consequences. We also argue against allowing nonmedical exemptions only for parents who object to vaccination for religious reasons, on the grounds that doing so is likely to be unfair or ineffective...