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UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Scholar’s Work on Fatigue and Health Published Today

 ‘Sick and Tired - An Intimate History of Fatigue,’ authored by Fielding School Professor Emily K. Abel and published by the University of North Carolina Press, is now available

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Date: 
Monday, April 12, 2021
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A landmark work has been published examining fatigue as a hugely important factor in human health and extremely relevant to those with “long-haul” COVID-19 symptoms.

Sick and Tired - An Intimate History of Fatigue, authored by Dr. Emily K. Abel, a prize-winning historian of medicine and public health at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH), was published today in hardcover and paperback by the University of North Carolina Press.

“Medicine finally has discovered fatigue. Recent research into various diseases conclude that fatigue has been under-recognized, underdiagnosed, and undertreated, while scholars in the social sciences and humanities have also ignored the phenomenon,” said Abel, a professor emeritus at FSPH. “As a result, we know little about what it means to live with this condition, especially given its diverse symptoms and causes.”

The work is the first history of fatigue, scrupulously researched and informed by Abel’s own experiences as a cancer survivor. With an engaging and informative style, Abel has written a synthetic history of fatigue that illustrates how it has been ignored or misunderstood, not only by medical professionals but also by American society as a whole.

Abel is the author of ten books, including Hearts of Wisdom: American Women Caring for Kin, 1850-1940 (Harvard University Press, 2000), which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 2000, and Tuberculosis and the Politics of Exclusion: A History of Public Health and Migration to Los Angeles (Rutgers University Press, 2007), which won the Viseltear Prize of the Medical Section of the American Public Health Association for an outstanding book in the history of public health.

“This is quintessential Emily Abel: concise, deeply researched, thoughtful and nuanced in illuminating a long-misunderstood problem,” said Dr. Janet Farrell Brodie, professor emeritus of history at Claremont Graduate University. “It is also a thoroughly compelling read.”


The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 631 students from 26 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.