Executive Board


Elisa SoboElisa Sobo, President
San Diego State University

Elisa “EJ” Sobo is a professor of anthropology at San Diego State University (SDSU). Prior to joining SDSU in 2005, she worked for the Veterans Healthcare Administration and, before that, for Children’s Hospital San Diego. Her current research focuses on the intersection of education and the cultivation of health. Representative publications include “Salutogenic Education and the Lifescape Paradigm: Movement and Whole Child Health in a Waldorf (Steiner) School”; “Play’s Relation to Health and Well Being in Preschool and Kindergarten”; and “High Physical Activity Levels in Waldorf/Steiner Education Refect Alternative Developmental Understandings.” Recent books include Dynamics of Human Bio-cultural Diversity: A Unifed Approach; The Cultural Context of Health, Illness and Medicine; and Culture and Meaning in Health Services Research: A Practical Field Guide. Sobo is presently on the editorial boards of Anthropology & Medicine, Medical Anthropology, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly. She has served on the Society for Medical Anthropology’s executive board previously (2004-07), and she has chaired various SMA interest groups as well: the AIDS and Anthropology Research Group (AARG, 1999-2000), the group for Clinically Applied Medical Anthropology (CAMA, 2001-03), and the Council on Infant and Child Health and Welfare (CICH). Within the AAA, EJ has served on and co-chaired the Committee on Public Policy (CoPP, 2009-11) and she is presently on the steering committee of the Anthropology of Childhood and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG, 2011-present).


arachu-2_smallArachu Castro, President Elect
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).


rodlachAlexander Rödlach, Treasurer
Creighton University

Alexander Rödlach was born in Innsbruck, Austria and received his Baccalaureatus Theologiae from the Pontificia Università Urbaniana in Rome, Italy, and a Magister der Theologie from the Theologische Hochschule St. Gabriel, Mödling, Austria. He completed his graduate work in anthropology at the University of Florida. He is currently an associate professor in anthropology and psychiatry at Creighton University in Omaha and co-director of the graduate program in Medical Anthropology. His current research explores the impact of Faith Community Nursing programs on the health and wellbeing of participants. He is also part of a research project that explores the health of diverse refugee populations living in Omaha. He is the author of Witches, Westerners and HIV: AIDS and Cultures of Blame in Africa.


clara-han-2Clara 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.



maryMary Anglin
University of Kentucky

Mary Anglin is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky, where she recently completed a term as department chair. Through long-term ethnographic research based in urban Northern California, she has examined breast cancer as a public health problem and a social crisis, with attention to the role of social activism in challenging biomedical views of “risk” as well as approaches to treatment. Her recent work explores differences of ethnicity, race, nationality, and social class among women diagnosed with breast cancer, and the implications of such differences for quality of life and survival. Future plans include a return to ethnographic work on issues of environmental contamination in Appalachia, with attention to their impact on communities and human health. The theme that unites these various projects is an abiding interest in health inequities and social justice and the potential uses of a critically applied anthropology.


finleyErin P. Finley
University of Texas Health Science Center

Erin P. Finley, PhD MPH is an assistant professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine (Division of Hospital Medicine) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and a Research Investigator at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. She is a medical anthropologist and health services researcher with expertise in posttraumatic stress disorder, access to care, and the implementation of evidence-based practices in inpatient and outpatient settings. Dr. Finley was awarded the 2012 Margaret Mead Award by the American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology for her book, Fields of Combat: Understanding PTSD among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan (Cornell).


junkoJunko Kitanaka
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.


moyerEileen Moyer
University of Amsterdam

Eileen Moyer is a professor of anthropology at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Social Science Research. She has published 22 peer-reviewed articles, co-edited three special issues in highly esteemed medical anthropology journals, supervised seven PhD researchers, and she is a co-editor of Medicine Anthropology Theory. In 2015, she was awarded a prestigious ERC consolidator grant for 2 million euro to research the relationship between global health gender equality initiatives and transformations in urban African masculinities over the last quarter century. Previously, she worked as the research manager and coordinator of the “Anthropology of AIDS in the 21st-Century” research group, based at the University of Amsterdam. In 2009, she received a four-year grant to direct a research team to investigate the social institutions and socialities that have arisen in eastern Africa in conjunction with the expansion of HIV treatment. Her research interests include urbanizing Africa, youth cultures, medical anthropology, HIV/AIDS, global health, masculinities, sexuality, anthropology of space, and popular culture.


luquejohn-pubhealthJohn (Juan) Luque
Medical University of South Carolina

John (Juan) Luque, PhD, MPH is associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Medicine and Hollings Cancer Center at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Luque received his doctoral degree in medical anthropology and his MPH from the University of South Florida where his research was focused on child respiratory health and natural disasters in Andean Ecuador. He also received postdoctoral training in behavioral oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. He has served as Principal Investigator on multiple research projects sponsored by the National Institutes of Health on cultural factors related to cancer screening and attitudes toward cancer prevention in Latino and African-American populations in the U.S. South. His research examines the effectiveness of lay health advisor programs to increase cancer prevention and control in these populations. He has expanded his interest in cancer education to work with a cervical cancer screening clinic in Cusco, Peru to promote screening opportunities in low resource communities. Luque has published over 45 peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals in anthropology, medicine, and public health. With Chad Morris, he co-edited Anthropological Insights on Effective Community-Based Coalition Practice (2011) for the Annals of Anthropological Practice. With Levi Ross, he co-edited Cancer Prevention and Control in African Americans (2016) for the Journal of Cancer Education.


andreaAndrea Whittaker
Monash University, Australia

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.


Lesley SharpLesley Sharp
Barnard College and Columbia University

Lesley A. Sharp is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and senior research scientist in sociomedical sciences of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Her areas of specialization include religious forms of healing, body commodifcation, anthropological critiques of bioethics, and the moral dimensions of experimental science. Sharp is the author of five books, including The Possessed and the Dispossessed: Spirits, Identity, and Power in a Madagascar Migrant Town (1993); Strange Harvest: Organ Transplants, Denatured Bodies, and the Transformed Self (2006), which won the SMA New Millennium Book Prize; The Transplant Imaginary: Mechanical Parts, Animal Parts, and Moral Thinking in Highly Experimental Science (2013); and the forthcoming co-edited volume with Nancy Chen, Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability (2014).


Cathleen WillgingCathleen Willging
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and University of New Mexico

Cathleen Willging, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Willging received her doctoral degree in anthropology at Rutgers University and undertook her postdoctoral studies at the University of New Mexico where she specialized in both mental health services research and evaluation. Willging is a practicing medical anthropologist focused on public mental health and substance use services in the United States, institutional ethnography, health care reform, and the advancement of culturally- and contextually-relevant programs to support marginalized groups affected by persistent disparities. Shaped by anthropological theory and praxis, Willging’s research bridges the fields of public health, psychiatry, and social work, and typically involves mixed-method research designs, participatory methods, and team-based ethnography. She has researched and written about a variety of topics related to managed care, health policy, rural populations, and implementation of major systems-change initiatives to provide child welfare and mental health services in multiple states. Willging’s current work is concerned with adapting and developing mental health interventions to help ameliorate the effects of social injustice experienced by psychiatrized populations, including incarcerated women and gender and sexual minorities.


carolCarlyn Egesa , MASA liaison
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

photohandlerVincanne 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.


Megan A. CarneyMegan A. CarneyContributing Editor, Anthropology News
Arizona State University

Megan A Carney is a critical medical anthropologist specializing in migrant women’s health. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate with the Comparative Border Studies Institute at Arizona State University and Affiliated Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is engaged in two postdoctoral research projects, one exploring the field of migrant mental health and repercussions of post-9/11 immigration enforcement practices in the U.S., and the other examining the health-seeking behaviors of female asylum-seekers from North Africa and the Middle East and the NGO-ization of care in the context of Italy’s austerity measures. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she conducted 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork among Mexican and Central American migrant women examining the lived experience of “food insecurity” and state approaches to dietary health problems. The findings of this research will be featured in her forthcoming book with University of California Press.

Sean BrunaSean BrunaWeb Editor
Western Washington University

Sean Bruna is an Assistant Professor at Western Washington University.  Sean’s research utilizes mixed-methods research to examine the intersections of identity and chronic disease (type 2 diabetes and hypertension) in partnership with American Indian and Latino communities. Hi current research examines the practices and products of anthropology. Learn more about Sean’s research at SeanBruna.com or @seanbruna.


Stephanie CruzStephanie Cruz, Listserv Moderator
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.


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.


Cassandra WilsonCassandra Wilson, SMA Administrative Assistant
San Diego State University

Cassandra Wilson is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at San Diego State University. Her concentration is in medical anthropology, with specific research interests in elective vaccine refusal within minority populations. Her interests include not only the knowledge and beliefs held by refusing populations but also those of health care providers themselves. She also is interested in the effects of racism and classism in epidemiology, and the ways in which fear and mistrust within socially marginalized populations alter the outcomes of healthcare programs.


Past Board and Ex Officio Service List