HSHM senior Sophie Edelstein wins Applebaum Award presented for senior essay on geriatric health care and U.S. policy

June 14, 2023

Each year, the Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award Committee recognizes a student whose senior essay or capstone draws on the extensive federal and international government materials in the collection of Yale Library, a designated federal depository library.

This year’s award recipient is Yale College senior Sophie E. Edelstein.

Edelstein’s winning senior essay is entitled “Am I Sick or Just Discarded?: Psychiatry, Health Care Reform, and the Rise of Geriatrics in America, 1931–1954.” To support the thesis, the author accessed a wide array of government documents, including congressional hearings, agency reports, census materials, and presidential papers.

As the award committee notes, Edelstein “situates elderly mental health in mid-twentieth century not only through a social psychiatry lens, but at the nexus of various federal programs, including governmental support for expansion of hospitals and nursing homes, as well as the debates around Social Security and Medicare.” Edelstein also highlights some of the ways in which exclusions based on racial identity were evident in elderly health care and psychiatric care during the time period.

The winner of the Applebaum Award receives a $500 prize. The winning essay is also published on EliScholar, the library’s publishing platform for Yale University researchers who wish to disseminate their work to a wide audience. Read Sophie Edelstein’s full essay.

Edelstein’s advisor was Kelly O’Donnell, lecturer in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine.

The 2023 Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award committee included these staff members at Marx Science and Social Science Library: Gwyneth Crowley, librarian for economics and U.S. government information; Jeremy Garritano, director of research support and outreach programs; and Jennifer Snow, program director for instruction. Melissa Grafe, John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History, head of the Medical Historical Library; Cate Kellett, catalog and government documents librarian and lecturer in legal research; and Youn Noh, research information management librarian, also served on the committee.

Read more about the Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award.

Read about all Yale Library prizes.

—Deborah Cannarella

Image: Sophie E. Edelstein ’23. Photo by Joanna Carmona

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