Matthew Kelly, PhD, MPH is a medical student whose training and scholarship span the fields of history, bioethics, and the creative arts. He earned his PhD and MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University, studying in the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health and Medicine. Prior to this, he attended Brown University, where he concentrated in Biomedical Ethics and completed a capstone program in Playwriting. His doctoral dissertation, which examined unorthodox expressions of activism during the early period of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, was honored with the Marisa de Castro Benton Award. He has researched and written on several topics in the medical humanities, including the history of US tobacco regulation, ethical issues arising out of the appropriation of medical language during times of war and conflict, and the use of art to communicate the illness experience during the early HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In addition to his historical work, Matthew has written and collaborated on many works for the stage. His plays and libretti have receiving workshops and productions by theatre groups throughout the world and, most recently, one of his opera libretti was translated into Italian for a production at the Teatro Coccia di Novara. He is a librettist in residence at New York City’s Floating Tower Theatre Group and has held additional theatre residencies with New York City’s Letter of Marque Theatre Group and the New Jersey Play Lab. Collectively, his creative works have been nominated for over 20 awards and honors.
At Johns Hopkins, Matthew is involved in research initiatives that span bioethics, history, sociomedical sciences, and the creative arts. Among the projects he has designed include an examination of the mental health burdens of New York City yellow taxi drivers, an analysis of the reflections of hospital chaplains whose careers spanned the early periods of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the early periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, and several narrative medicine-based studies. He also is a team member for many ongoing research initiatives, including efforts to interrogate and inform the language clinicians use during periods of conflict with patients.