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An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


History of Medicine and Public Health; Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS, with a particular focus on men who have sex with men (MSM); Infectious disease contact tracing


Key publications: 

Erica Charters and Richard A. McKay, 'The History of Science and Medicine in the Context of COVID-19'Centaurus 62 (2020), 223-33.

Richard A. McKay, Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017).

With Paul Woodson (narrator), Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic [audiobook] (HighBridge Audio, 2017).

Michael Worobey, Thomas D. Watts, Richard A. McKay, Marc A. Suchard, Timothy Granade, Dirk E. Teuwen, Beryl A. Koblin, Walid Heneine, Philippe Lemey & Harold W. Jaffe, '1970s and "Patient 0" HIV-1 genomes illuminate early HIV/AIDS history in North America', letter, Nature 539 (3 November 2016), 98-101

Richard A. McKay, 'Before HIV: Venereal Disease Among Homosexually-active Men in England and North America', in The Routledge History of Disease, edited by Mark Jackson (London: Routledge, 2016), 439-57.

Richard A. McKay, '"Patient Zero": The Absence of a Patient's View of the Early North American AIDS Epidemic'Bulletin of the History of Medicine 88 (2014): 161–94.

Other publications: 

Justin Barr, Richard A. McKay & Deborah B. Doroshow, 'The Dangers of "Us Versus Them": Epidemics Then and Now', Journal of General Internal Medicine (2021),

Richard A. McKay, Margaret Pelling, Margaret Humphreys, Frank Huisman, Abigail Woods & Yewande Okuleye, 'Why Do We Do What We Do? The Values of the Social History of Medicine', Social History of Medicine 33 (2020): 3-17.


Wellcome Trust Research Fellow
Director of Studies for History and Philosophy of Science, Magdalene College
Dr Richard  A.  McKay
Not available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
Epidemic control
Public Health
History of Infectious Diseases