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Lucas Richert, PhD

Associate Professor
George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy Director of Graduate Studies, Health Services Research in Pharmacy Graduate Program


Lucas Richert (RICK-ert) is a historian of medicine and pharmacy, who focuses on legal and illegal drugs, drug science and technology, pharmaceutical pricing and policy, and mental health.

His books to date have centered on the pharmaceutical industry, regulation, and the Food and Drug Administration (A Prescription for Scandal); the boundaries that separates all manner of legitimate and illegitimate drugs (see Strange Trips), such as LSD, heroin, and amphetamines; radical mental health and social/professional movements (Break On Through) in the United States; and more specifically cannabis as an intoxicant and therapeutic substance across the planet (Cannabis: Global Histories). These publications all emphasize the evolving nature and contestability of health knowledges and logics over time.

Richert has studied and worked in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Between 2006 and 2018, he resided in Saskatoon, Edinburgh, London, and Glasgow, moving slowly from graduate school to postdoctoral fellow to the academic precariat and then to the professoriate. In 2019, Richert took up the George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy within the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy and he is housed within the Social and Administrative Sciences Division and mostly teaches within the School of Pharmacy. He is also a proud affiliate faculty member with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of History and the Department of Medical History Bioethics (MHB). He regularly contributes to HSMT planning and activities.

Beyond developing academic publications and working with the UW-Madison community, Richert has enjoyed making his research available to different types of audiences. He has provided commentary for, and has been featured in, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Daily Mail, Haaretz, New York Times, Psychology Today, Slate, Vice News Tonight, Women's Health, Washington Post, and Yahoo News, among other outlets. In Wisconsin, he has worked with Milwaukee Magazine, Wisconsin Public Radio, and the Wisconsin Badger-Herald

 

Richert is the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the Health Services Research in Pharmacy (HSRP) program in the UW SoP, which provides deeply interdisciplinary training to students from multiple educational backgrounds. 

He also sits on the steering committee for the newly launched Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation (PPI) masters program in the UW School of Pharmacy, which launched in 2021, and serves on the Executive Committee of the recently created Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances, also based in the UW School of Pharmacy. 

 

Richert's Urdang Lab currently has places for students focused on histories of medicine and pharmacy. Learn more here if interested in a PhD opportunity.

He is also willing to supervise or co-supervise students across divisions and departments at this time. He is particularly open to working with graduate students whose interests center on histories of substances; the evolving nature of community and corporate pharmacy; and mental health technologies. 

He teaches within the School of Pharmacy but his courses are humanities-based and open to students across campus. His courses help form part of the Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation (PPI) masters curriculum, and he also provides content for the PharmD curriculum.

  • PHM 401 History of Pharmacy
  • PHM 563 Drug History - Dangerous Drugs & Magic Bullets
  • PHM 564 Psychedelic Historiography: Sacred Plants, Science & Psychotherapy

Richert also periodically contributes to other courses in the SOP.

  • PHM 800 Scientific Integrity & Responsible Conduct of Research
  • PHM 411 The Role of the Pharmacist in the Public Health System
  • PHM 490 Cannabinoids Seminar
  • PHM 490 Introduction to Specialty Pharmacy
  • PHM 570 Drug Literature & Evaluation 
Highlighted Publications:

Books

Jim Mills and Lucas Richert (eds.) Cannabis: Global Histories. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2021.

Break on Through: Radical Psychiatry and the American Counterculture. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2019.

Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.  

Conservatism, Consumer Choice, and the Food and Drug Administration during the Reagan Era: A Prescription for Scandal. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

Other Publications (Select)

“Psychedelic Pasts – and Presents,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 76.3 (2021). 

(with Erika Dyck, Alexis Turner) “Psychedelic Wars,” The War on Drugs: A History, edited by David Farber (New York: New York University Press, 2021). 

(with James H. Mills) “Breaking News: Weed Kills Coronavirus,” in Cannabis: Global Histories, edited by Lucas Richert and James H. Mills (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2021).

(with Erika Dyck) "Psychedelic crossings: American mental health and LSD in the 1970s," BMJ: Medical Humanities 46 (2020): 184-191.

(with Natalie Schmitz) “Pharmacists and the Future of Cannabis Medicine,” Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 60.1 (2019): 207-211.

(with Matthew DeCloedt) "Supple Bodies, Healthy Minds: Yoga, Psychedelics, and American Mental Health," BMJ: Medical Humanities 44 2018: 193-200

"Heroin in the hospice: opioids and end-of-life discussions in the 1980s," Canadian Medical Association Journal 190.37 October 2, 2017, E1231-E1232.