Executive Board



Arachu Castro, President
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).

Elisa Sobo

Elisa Sobo, Past 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).


Alexander 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, 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
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.


Mary 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.


Erin 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).


Junko 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.

Nolwazi Mkhwanazi
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).



Eileen 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.

Eugene Raikhel
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.


Carlyn 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


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 Section Liaison
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, 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.

Laura Meek, Anthropology News SMA Section Liaison
University of California, Davis

Laura Meek is a PhD candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She holds a MA in Women’s Studies from George Washington University and a BA in Comparative Human Development from The University of Chicago. Laura’s dissertation explores the globalization of pharmaceuticals in East Africa, embodiment and bodily epistemologies, and the ethics of healing. She conducted over two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania (supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation), examining how pharmaceuticals were used and understood by diversely situated social actors. In her dissertation, Laura frames her interlocutors’ engagement with pharmaceuticals as a form of healing—involving the re/creating of right social relationships—and contrasts this with a biomedical emphasis on curing—which locates the efficacy of medicines in their chemical properties, rather than in the contexts and circumstances of their use. 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 interest include counterfeits & other “fakes”; the history of medicine and healing across the Indian Ocean world; methods as theory; bodies, experimentation, and practices of dreaming.

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