Paul M. Gahlinger

Paul M. Gahlinger

Paul M. Gahlinger, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., FACOEM, (born in Green Bay, Wisconsin) is an American scientist, physician, and author. His books include "Computer Programs for Epidemiologic Analysis" (see Winpepi), "Northern Manitoba from Forest to Tundra", "The Cockpit", "Illegal Drugs", "Health for Pilots", "Drugs and Justice", and "The Medical Tourism Travel Guide".


Paul Gahlinger is the son of Anton Josef Gahlinger (1918-1959) and Margrit Rosa (1917-2007), both of whom were citizens of Switzerland. His father was a career military man who commanded the Swiss cavalry during World War II and later served as the Captain of the Swiss Guards under Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII. The family subsequently emigrated to Canada, where his father bought a produce farm. The father’s early death plunged the family into poverty. Paul Gahlinger left school at age 14 to become a farm worker, and later worked underground at Giant Mine gold mine near Yellowknife in the Canadian Northwest Territories and was a logger for MacMillan Bloedel Limited on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. At age 20, he gained entry to college despite lacking a high school education or diploma. He eventually achieved a B.A. in Philosophy, M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology, M.P.H. in Epidemiology, and M.D. degrees. He studied at numerous universities, with degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Davis. (This information is from "The Cockpit".)

Dr. Gahlinger is a citizen of Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. In 1992, he attained notoriety by his record-breaking flight in a small airplane from California to Egypt (described in "The Cockpit").

In 1996, Gahlinger became Chief Medical Officer of Johnston Atoll, a chemical weapons demilitarization site in the mid-Pacific. Under his stewardship, the island obtained JCAHO (Joint Commission) and ISO-9000 accreditation and certification by the Chemical Weapons Convention for health care.


In 1984, he was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science prize in Philosophy of Science for his paper, “The Assignation of Cause” arguing that causality is an operational construct that cannot be determined empirically.

In 1997, he was awarded a medal of distinguished service by the United States Army, Defense Special Weapons, for his development of chemical weapons safety programs.

In 2001, he was elected to Fellow and Master of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Academic research

Dr. Gahlinger is best known for his research and publications on substance abuse and illegal drugs. In particular, his popular textbook "Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse" 2004, New York: Penguin Group, Plume is regarded as the most comprehensive reference on illegal drugs. It is used at hundreds of universities and colleges in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. His commentary on illegal drugs has been presented in numerous television and radio programs on topics ranging from Opium production in Afghanistan to the influence of cocaine on Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

He is currently Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah and serves as a Biomedical Space Research evaluator for NASA. He is listed by Consumers’ Research Council of America as one of “America’s Top Physicians.”


Non-fiction books

*1993 (with JH Abramson) "Computer Programs for Epidemiologic Analysis" Honolulu: Makapuu Medical Press
*1995 "Northern Manitoba from Forest to Tundra" Lucan, Canada: G.B. Communications
*1995 (with JH Abramson) "Computer Programs for Epidemiologic Analysis" 2nd ed. Stone Mountain, Georgia: USD
*1999 (with JH Abramson) "Computer Programs for Epidemiologists" 3rd ed. London: Brixton Books
*2000 "The Cockpit: A Flight of Escape and Discovery" Salt Lake City: Sagebrush Press (memoir)
*2001 "Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse" Salt Lake City: Sagebrush Press
*2001 (with JH Abramson) "Computer Programs for Epidemiologists" 4th ed. Salt Lake City: Sagebrush Press
*2002 "Health for Pilots: A Complete Guide to FAA Medical Certification and Self-Care" Salt Lake City: Sagebrush Press
*2004 "Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse" New York: Penguin (Plume)
*2007 (with Drugs and Justice Working Group) "Drugs and Justice: Seeking a Consistent, Coherent, Comprehensive View" New York: Oxford University Press
*2008 "The Medical Tourism Travel Guide: Your Complete Reference to Top-Quality, Low-Cost Dental, Cosmetic, Medical Care & Surgery Overseas" North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press

Book chapters

*2004 "The addiction of cows" In: "Cows: A Rumination" C. Hileman, ed. Cincinnati, Ohio: Emmis Books
*2005 "Dissecting the blues" In: "101 Ways to Beat the Blues, by Tanya Tucker and Friends" New York: Fireside Books
*2005 "Adventure in Guatemala City" In: "True Pilot Stories" P Lorenz, ed. West Conshohocken, PA: Infinity Publishing (memoir)

Academic journal articles

*1984 Gastrointestinal illness and cannabis use in a rural Canadian community. "Journal of Psychoactive Drugs"; 16: 263-265
*1985 Ecology, delocalization, and relocalization in a Canadian maritime community. "Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers"; 65-66: 138-147
*1986 Occupational risk analysis: review. "Epidemiology Monitor"; 7: 3
*1986 (with WC Meeker) Neuromuscular thermography: a valuable diagnostic tool? "Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics"; 9: 257-266
*1986 (with WC Reeves, MM Milby) Air conditioning and television as protective factors in arboviral encephalitis risk. "American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene"; 35: 601-610
*1988 (with DS Sharp) Statistics in biological research: power and sample size in regression analyses. "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise"; 20: 605-610
*1996 (with S Magnuson-Hawkins) Termites in paradise. "Pest Control"; Feb: 72-73
*1999 The power of herbs. "Western Journal of Medicine"; 170: 255-256
*1999 Utility of telemedicine on Johnston Atoll. "JAMA"; 282: 735
*1999 Motion sickness. "Postgraduate Medicine"; 106: 177-184
*1999 Review of Health, Civilization, and the State: A History of Public Health from Ancient to Modern Times, by Dorothy Porter, 1999. "JAMA"; 282: 1589
*2000 Cabin location and the likelihood of motion sickness in cruise ship passengers. "Journal of Travel Medicine"; 7:12-124
*2000 A comparison of motion sickness remedies in severe sea conditions. "Wilderness and Environmental Medicine"; 11:136-137
*2000 The industrial clinic. "Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine"; 42:969
*2004 Club drugs: MDMA, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, and ketamine. "American Family Physician"; 69:2619-2627 (
*2005 Review of Telemedicine and E-Health Law, by LD Fleisher, JC Dechene, 2004. "Telemedicine Journal and e-Health"; 11(2):34-35
*2006 Existential pain: impressions from an American Indian reservation. "Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy"; 20:41-52

Popular magazine articles

*1994 Astronomy at the cape. "Sky & Telescope" Sept: 92-93
*2000 The Cardinal and the Sphinx. "Private Pilot" 26: 12-18
*2000 Carina. "Amateur Astronomy" 26: 12
*2002 The ulterior continent. "Outside Magazine" Jan, p 13
*2003 Can yoga make you strong? "UTHealth Magazine" Feb, p 32
*2006 Avoiding airsickness. "Flight Training" Sept, pp 34-37
*2006 Magic mushrooms: a short history. "Catalyst Magazine" Nov, pp 18-21
*2007 Lost. "Catalyst Magazine" Feb, pp 14-16
*2007 Medical tourism. "Catalyst Magazine" Aug, p 14
*2007 In the details: religious meltdown. "Catalyst Magazine" Sept, p 20
*2007 What’s wrong with polygamy? "Catalyst Magazine" Oct, p 22

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