Executive Board



Arachu Castro, President
SMA 2020 Conference Program Chair

Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Arachu Castro, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America and Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Her major interests are how social inequalities are embodied as differential risk for pathologies common among the poor and how health policies may alter the course of epidemic disease and other pathologies afflicting populations living in poverty. Dr. Castro works at the intersection of medical anthropology and epidemiology and has a focus on reproductive and maternal health and infectious disease from a health equity perspective. She is the lead author of the UNICEF-Tulane publication Health Equity Report 2016: Analysis of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health Inequities in Latin America and the Caribbean to Inform Policy Making. She has worked in Mexico, Argentina, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia. Prior to joining Tulane in 2013, she was Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Among other awards, Dr. Castro is the recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2005 Rudolf Virchow Award. In 2012 she was named Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology. She has worked as consultant for PAHO, WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNDP, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, and is in the Board of Directors of Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology and ethnology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1996), a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Barcelona (1997), and a MPH from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston (1998).


Charles Briggs, President Elect
University of California Berkeley 

Charles L. Briggs (PhD University of Chicago, 1981) Positions Held: Professor of Anthropology, Co-Director of Medical Anthropology Program, Co-Director Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, University of California, Berkeley; is the Alan Dundes Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology of the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches social/cultural, medical, and linguistic anthropology and folkloristics. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago. His books include The Wood Carvers of Córdova, New Mexico; Learning How to Ask; Voices of Modernity (with Richard Bauman); Competence in performance; Stories in the Time of Cholera (with Clara Mantini-Briggs); Making Health Public (with Daniel Hallin); and Tell Me Why My Children Died (with Clara Mantini-Briggs). He has received such honors as the James Mooney Award, the Chicago Folklore Prize, Edward Sapir Book Prize, the J. I. Staley Prize, the Américo Paredes Prize, the New Millennium Book Award, the Cultural Horizons Prize, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.


Jessica Mulligan, Treasurer
Providence College

Jessica Mulligan is associate professor of Health Policy and Management at Providence College. Her research explores economic precarity, racial resentment, and access to insurance coverage in US health reform.  She also studies the privatization of the health care system in Puerto Rico and health care providers’ ethics of care post-María. She is the author ofUnmanageable Care: An Ethnography of Health Care Privatization in Puerto Rico (NYU Press, 2014) and co-editor (with Heide Castañeda) of Unequal Coverage: The Experience of Health Care Reform in the United States (NYU Press, 2018).




Clara Han, Secretary
Johns Hopkins University

Clara Han is a faculty member of the Critical Global Health seminar series, an interdisciplinary seminar between Anthropology, History, History of Medicine at the School of Medicine; International Health and Health, Behavior and Society at the School of Public Health. I also have an appointment at the School of Public Health in the Dept. of Health, Behavior, and Society.



Elise Andaya
Nominations Committee Chair

SfAA/SMA Conference Program Committee Chair
State University of New York

Elise Andaya is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Albany (State University of New York). Her research interests lie at the intersection of gender, reproduction, health citizenship, and access to health care in the United States and in Cuba. Her book, Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in the Post-Soviet Era (2014) won the Adele E. Clarke Award Best Book on Reproduction from the interdisciplinary group ReproNetwork and received Honorary Mention in the Association for Feminist Anthropology’s Michelle Z. Rosaldo Award for Best First Book in Feminist Anthropology. Her current research examines temporal inequalities and questions of time shape access to, and experiences of, prenatal care for women who work in low-wage service-sector jobs.



Junko Kitanaka
Special Interest Groups Liaison

Keio University, Tokyo

Junko Kitanaka is a professor of anthropology in the Department of Human Sciences at Keio University, Tokyo. She was born and educated in Japan before obtaining an MA at the University of Chicago and PhD at McGill University under Margaret Lock and Allan Young. She has been conducting research on psychiatry for 18 years, collaborating globally with doctors and anthropologists, teaching in Japan and advising graduate students from the U.S. and Europe, while helping organize international conferences including the 2015 World Congress of Asian Psychiatry. She has received a number of awards including the 2007 Dissertation Award from the American Anthropological Association’s Society for Medical Anthropology. Her dissertation has since been published by Princeton University Press as a 2012 book titled Depression in Japan: Psychiatric Cures for a Society in Distress, which won the American Anthropological Association’s Francis Hsu Prize for Best Book in East Asian Anthropology in 2013. The book has been translated by Dr. Pierre-Henri Castel at the University of Paris-Descartes and published by D’Ithaque as De la mort voluntaire au suicide au travail: Histoire et anthropologie de la depression au Japon (2014). She is currently working on a new project on health screening and preventive medicine in the workplace; psychotherapy and trauma care in the post-nuclear age; and the medicalization of the lifecycle (developmental disorders, depression and dementia). Junko has served on the editorial boards of Biosocieties, History of Human Sciences, and Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. Her recent publications include: The Rebirth of Secrets and the New Care of the Self in Depressed Japan. Current Anthropology 56(12): S251-S262, 2015; Depression as a Problem of Labor: Japanese Debates About Work, Stress, and a New Therapeutic Ethos, Sadness or Depression?: International Perspectives on the Depression Epidemic and Its Meaning, Jerome Wakefield & Steeves Demazeux eds. Springer, 2016.


Nolwazi Mkhwanazi
AAA/SMA Conference Program Committee Chair

SMA Awards and Prizes Coordinator
University of Witwatersrand

Nolwazi Mkhwanazi is a senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, and presently a senior researcher in the Medical Humanities programme at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research). Her research interests revolve around issues concerning life course, kinship and care in Southern Africa. She has conducted research in Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa. Nolwazi is co-editor, with Deevia Bhana, of Young Families: Gender, Sexuality, and Care (In press, HSRC Press).


Erica Prussing
Policy Committee

University of Iowa

Erica Prussing is an associate professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Community & Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa. She is a cultural, medical and psychological anthropologist interested in the anthropology of science; health activism; culture and mental health; addiction and its treatment; and indigenous peoples, especially in the United States and Aotearoa/New Zealand. She is currently focused on illuminating how indigenous activists are creativity integrating epidemiology’s scientific credibility into their advocacy for health equity. She is author of White Man’s Water: The Politics of Sobriety in a Native American Community (University of Arizona Press, 2011), and is completing a second book tentatively entitled Quantifying Justice: Epidemiology For and By Indigenous Peoples.


Eugene Raikhel
Communications Committee Chair

University of Chicago

Eugene Raikhel is an associate professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. He is a cultural and medical anthropologist with interests encompassing the anthropology of science, biomedicine and psychiatry; culture and mental health; addiction and its treatment; biogenetic identity and sociality; and post-socialist transformations in Eurasia. He particularly concerned with the circulation of new forms of knowledge and clinical intervention produced by biomedicine, neuroscience and psychiatry. He is author of Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic (Cornell University Press, 2016), co-editor (with William Garriott) of the volume Addiction Trajectories (Duke University Press 2013), and editor of the medical anthropology web-forum Somatosphere.


Andrea Whittaker
Monash University

Andrea Whittaker is an ARC Future Fellow in Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts. She has achieved international standing in the field of medical anthropology.  Her current research projects include the study of global medical trade and mobility, reproductive travel and biotechnologies in the Asia Pacific, including issues of gender, religion, bioethics and global regulation of the trade, and social isolation among HIV positive people in Queensland. Her research spans the disciplines of anthropology, international public health, Asian studies and gender studies.


Matthew Wolf-Meyer
Membership and Mentoring Committee Chair

Binghamton University

Matthew Wolf-Meyer is the author of The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine and Modern American Life (2012) and Where is the Theory for the World to Come? (2019), and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Binghamton University. His research focuses on the biology of everyday life – the ways that human biological experiences interact with the expectations of U.S. institutions, and how medicine mediates these frictions. The Slumbering Masses explores how consolidated sleep developed over the 19th century into the basis for sleep medicine in the 20th century, and how this conception of sleep foreclosed other possible ways to sleep while shaping American work, school, and family schedules. His forthcoming book, Unraveling, focuses on neurological disorders and communication, and he is currently working on a project about the history of the use of excrement in American medicine and the rising interest in fecal microbial transplants in the treatment of human microbiomes, entitled The Colony Within.


MASA Liaison


Carlyn Egesa
University of Amsterdam

Carolyne Egesa is a PhD candidate in Medical Anthropology at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam. She holds a masters of science degree in social science from the university of Southampton, UK and a bachelor of arts degree from university of Nairobi, Kenya. She has over ten years of research experience working in various capacities in sexual reproductive health and rights in Kenya. Carolyne is interested in programs and policy debates on the issues that shape SRH health outcomes among men in Africa and of particular interest to her are poor and marginalized men living in informal urban spaces, often called slums. Her PhD research seeks to understand the ideas about men and manliness that are produced, maintained, and circulated in gender-based violence prevention programs and how understandings of masculinity in Africa are situated in relation to male-involvement initiatives, and to broader social and historical shifts and issues related to gender equality activities and movements in the region.


Ex-Officio Members & Staff


Vincanne Adams, MAQ Editor
University of California, San Francisco

Former Director (2000-2012) and Vice-Chair, Medical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine (joint program with UC Berkeley Anthropology). Areas of research and publication include: Global Health, Asian Medical Systems, Social Theory, Critical Medical Anthropology, Sexuality and Gender, Safe Motherhood, Disaster Recovery, Tibet, Nepal, China and the US.


Dori Beeler, Anthropology News SMA Contributing Co-Editor
Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health & Department of Health Behavior and Society

Dori Beeler received her MA in Socio-Cultural and PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Durham. As a medical anthropologist, her focus is on the intersections between healing and spirituality; health and wellbeing; and healthcare and commodity. She has done extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Britain, investigating Reiki practice with a focus on the practitioner, the client, and medical professionals. Her 2015 thesis and subsequent monograph, An Ethnographic Account of Reiki Practice in Britain, led to a description of the relationship between spirituality and wellbeing within Reiki practice. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Notre Dame, Dori engaged in a multi-disciplinary project where she conducted laboratory ethnography. Underlying Dori’s work is her interest in an in-depth understanding of the everyday, lived experience of individuals and communities. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health receiving training in Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control with a focus on pediatric oncology.


Stephanie Cruz

Stephanie Cruz, Communities Manager
University of Washington

Stephanie Cruz is a doctoral candidate in Medical Anthropology at the University of Washington. Stephanie holds a BA from Stanford University in Anthropological Sciences. She holds a Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Washington. Stephanie’s dissertation focuses on how professional beliefs and behaviors interact and inform policies on cadaver use in continuing medical education. She also works in public health dentistry on qualitative projects researching patient, practitioner, and family perspectives on dental care access for Medicaid populations or children with special health needs. She hopes to become an applied medical anthropologist with the goal of working in interdisciplinary health research teams.


Laura Meek, Anthropology News SMA Contributing Co-Editor
University of Hong Kong

Laura Meek is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. She researches counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bodily epistemologies, and the politics of healing in East Africa. Laura received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis, as well as an M.A. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University and a B.A. in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago. Her current book project, Pharmaceuticals in Divergence: Radical Uncertainty and World-Making Tastes in Tanzania, is based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork in Iringa, Tanzania, and focuses on the proliferation of counterfeits in local biomedical markets. The work that emerges from this research lies at the intersection of medical anthropology, postcolonial studies, and feminist science studies, and grapples with how to theoretically render both radical uncertainty and world making innovation in Africa today. Additional areas of research include the history of medicine and healing across the Indian Ocean world; embodied experimentation and practices of dreaming; and global leprosy elimination campaigns.


Saira Mehmood, Digital Communications Manager
Southern Methodist University

I graduated from Tulane University with a B.S. and M.A. in Anthropology in 2008 and 2009. Prior to coming to SMU, I completed a fellowship at city hall in New Orleans, where one of my research projects included assessing mental health services in the city. My dissertation research, which addresses the criminalization of mental illness in New Orleans, was inspired by my earlier research at city hall, where I learned that the largest mental health institution in the city after Hurricane Katrina is Orleans Parish Prison. My interest in mental health and health disparities has led me to investigate how individuals diagnosed with chronic mental illnesses become imprisoned instead of receiving treatment at a hospital, and I hope to analyze how various forms of social support and support networks (or lack of) interplay with these forces.


Elizabeth Wirtz, SIG Membership Coordinator
Purdue University

Elizabeth Wirtz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses on humanitarian aid in relief and development, forced migration, gender-based violence, reproductive health, human-centered technology design, and STEM higher education.



Sydney Yeager, Webmaster
Southern Methodist University

Sydney Yeager is a cultural anthropology doctoral candidate at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Sydney’s dissertation focuses on the use of social media platforms in response to health crises and death, she examines these issues within the context of urban centers and rural areas in the Southern United States. Additional areas of research interest include Neuroanthropology, Health and Religion, Social Media’s impact on Identity, Community, and Social Relationships, Digital Technology and Distraction Related Accidents. Learn more about Sydney and her research at http://sydneyyeager.org or on Twitter: @slyphi

Past Board and Ex Officio Service List

SMA Board Roster

SMA Ex Officio Roster