Charles L. Bosk

Current Fellow

Fellow: Awarded 2018

Field of Study: Medicine and Health

Competition: US & Canada

Charles L. Bosk is professor of sociology who focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of health care. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013, is an elected fellow of The Hastings Center and received the Leo G. Reeder Award from Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association for distinguished contributions to Medical Sociology. His first book, Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure (University of Chicago Press, 2nd edition 2003), describes how surgeons distinguished blameless from blameworthy errors. His second book, All God's Mistakes: Genetic Counseling in a Pediatric Hospital (University of Chicago Press, 1992), details the parallel growth of clinical genetics and bioethics. His most recent book, What Would You Do? Juggling Bioethics and Ethnography (University of Chicago Press 2006), describes the emergence of new organizational structures for managing the multiple complexities of providing care.

His Guggenheim Project, Mistakes Were Changed: An Ethnographic History of Medical Failure, explores the tension between professional and managerial definitions of ‘error,’ analyzes why improvements in patient safety and the quality of care have been elusive, and suggests new strategies for reducing harm to patients that move beyond the vague conception of reducing ‘system error.’

Dr. Bosk has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University. He has also received a Health Investigator Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Profile photography by Harry Bosk, PPA