Leyla Mei is a New York City-based writer and medical historian. Her work focuses on risk, race, and disease in a social and historical frame.
An erstwhile academic, Leyla has a Ph.D. in American history from the CUNY Graduate Center. She has taught American history, Asian American Studies, and the history of medicine at Columbia University and CUNY, and most recently held an appointment as Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is working on a book analyzing how American cancer research shaped racial categories and transformed ideas of race and risk in the twentieth century.
From 2002 to 2013, Leyla was a host and producer of Asia Pacific Forum, a weekly radio show with a global perspective on the news, politics and culture of Asia and the Asian diaspora, airing in the New York City area on WBAI 99.5 FM, Pacifica radio.
Leyla is a former labor and community organizer who has led campaigns to build unions for low-wage jewelry workers in Manhattan and public hospital employees in Florida. In Giuliani-era New York, she organized tenant associations for residents of city-owned housing in Central Harlem.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, she lives in Brooklyn.