SIG Chairs

AIDS and Anthropology Research Group

Adriana Garriga-López, Ph.D.
Kalamazoo College, Michigan
(269) 337-7363

Adriana is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Anthropology and Sociology Department of Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Adriana’s work examines the ways that epidemics reveal in stark detail the health effects of colonialism in Puerto Rico. Her ethnographic research focuses on contagious disease and public health cultures in Puerto Rico, with an emphasis on community activism and on the island’s political context. More broadly, she studies and teaches about the racial, cultural, and sexual politics of epidemics in the Caribbean, the U.S., and Latin America and has conducted research on bubonic plague, hookworm, bilharzia, ebola, yellow fever, dengue, HIV/AIDS, chikungunya, and zika.


Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Study Group

Shana Harris
University of Central Florida
(407) 823-4963

Shana Harris is a medical anthropologist with over a decade of experience researching drug use and abuse and health politics and practice in Latin America and the United States. Her dissertation and postdoctoral research ethnographically examined the adoption and promotion of harm reduction interventions in Argentina. Her current research focuses on medical travel and the use of a psychedelic called ibogaine for drug treatment in Mexico. Her articles have appeared in several scholarly journals, including Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Human Organization, and Substance Use & Misuse. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida.


Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group


Michael Duke
University of Memphis
(901) 609-8857
Term: 2012-present

The founding and Co-Chair of the Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group (AMHIG), Michael Duke is a social/medical anthropologist with over 20 years of experience carrying out social research focusing on the intersection of labor, substance abuse, migration, gender and masculinity, sexuality, and mental health, particularly among Latin American, Caribbean populations.


Anthropological Responses to Health Emergencies

Kristin Hedges, PhD
Grand Valley State University

Kristin Hedges is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Grand Valley State University. Her research interests are linked to gender inequality and health; including HIV/AIDS, infectious disease, reproductive health, juvenile justice, and substance abuse. She is drawn to questions of structural vulnerability and how local contexts impact health and healing. She has conducted research in Kenya and the US.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine / Integrative Medicine Group

Laura Meek, Co-Chair
University of California, Davis

Laura Meek is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She holds an 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.


Jane L. Saffitz, co-chair
University of California, Davis

Jane L. Saffitz is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She holds an MSW in Policy Practice and International Social Welfare from Columbia University, and a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis. Her work explores the politics of albinism in Tanzania, where in recent years a minority population of people with light skin—biomedically said to have albinism—have been murdered and violently attacked. She conducted over 22 months of fieldwork between 2012 and 2018 funded by the Fulbright-Hays Program, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the University of California. The resulting dissertation details the work of traditional healers and laborers in extractive industries who are rumored to use albino body parts in medicines, as well as the activism of transnational albinism rights NGOs, humanitarians, scientists, and journalists who aim to transform albinism into a uniformly understood artifact of biomedical knowledge. More broadly, Jane’s research and teaching interests address violence and humanitarianism; social movements, development, and the future; and comparative epistemologies of health and healing in East Africa.


Council on Anthropology and Reproduction


Jan Brunson, co-chair
University of Hawai’i
(808) 956-2007
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 346, Honolulu, HI 96822

Jan Brunson is a medical anthropologist (Ph.D. Brown University) specializing in discourses on women’s health in the global South. Her research intertwines medical anthropology, gender studies, demography, and cultural studies of science, technology, and medicine. She has conducted ethnographic research in Nepal on women’s health and the politics of reproduction for over a decade. Her research portfolio includes studies of global contraceptive technologies and family planning discourses, maternal health in resource-poor settings, and Maoist motherhood in Nepal. Her first book is titled, Planning Families in Nepal: Global and Local Projects of Reproduction (2016, Rutgers University Press), and her articles appear in the scholarly journals Social Science and Medicine, Ethnos, Studies in Family Planning, Practicing Anthropology, and Studies in Nepali History and Society.


 Vanessa M. Hildebrand, co-chair
Case Western Reserve University

Vanessa M. Hildebrand is an assistant professor of anthropology at Case Western Reserve University. She has been conducting research in Indonesia since 2000 on the complexities involved in caring for human reproductive health, especially in communities where women are vulnerable as a result of structural and social disenfranchisement. In the last two years, she has expanded her research sites to include Cleveland, Ohio. Hildebrand’s research has primarily focused on the experience and practice of the Skilled Birth Attendant midwives (SBA midwives), a category of midwife that is ubiquitous in global reproductive health programming. In this research, she seeks to understand how the idea of expertise is challenged, developed, or
maintained in a complicated social terrain that includes contested authority and knowledge sources.


Critical Anthropology of Global Health Study Group

Sara Lewis
University of Oregon
(541) 346-5042

As a medical anthropologist specializing in the intersections between culture, religion, and mental health, Sara Lewis’s work investigates the ways that individuals and communities thrive in the face of adversity. As co-chair of the Critical Anthropology of Global Health SIG, she is concerned not just with the ways that the people with whom we work are marginalized, but in how as critical medical anthropologists we can also seek to engage community resilience and recovery in global health.


Disability Research Interest Group

Tyler Zoanni
New York University

Tyler Zoanni is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at New York University. His dissertation focuses on religion and disability in Uganda, and his wider interests include personhood, the senses, medical anthropology, politics and aesthetics, and visual anthropology. Tyler’s writing and filmmaking work can be found at




Dying and Bereavement Special Interest Group

Margaret Souza
SUNY/Empire State College
(646) 882-3118

Souza is a medical anthropologist who received her doctorate and master’s degree in anthropology from the graduate faculty at the New School. She also holds a master’s in social work from Wayne State University. Her research has focused on end-of-life issues in both acute care and long-term care facilities in New York City, where she served as a researcher, educator, and practitioner. She is the author of “The Many Ways We Talk about Death in Contemporary Society: Interdisciplinary Studies in Portrayal and Classification.”


Medical Anthropology Student Association

Carolyn Egesa
University of Amsterdam

Carolyn Egesa is a Ph.D. candidate in Medical Anthropology, Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam. Carolyn holds a masters of science degree in social science from the University of Southampton, UK and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She has over ten years of research experience working in various capacity in sexual reproductive health and rights in Kenya and SSA. Carolyn is interested in programs and policy debates on the issues that shape health outcomes among men in urban spaces in Africa and of greatest concern are those living marginalized urban spaces. Her current study 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 responsible masculinity in Africa are situated in relation to male-involvement initiatives, and to broader social and historical shifts related to the gender equality assemblage.


Research on U.S. Health and Healthcare

Shannon Satterwhite
University of California, San Francisco

Shannon Satterwhite is a MD/PhD student at UC San Francisco with both clinical and research interests in American primary care, particularly in the safety net. Her research focuses on the temporality of primary care practice for multiple clinical actors and administrators in community clinics working to implement team-based practices. As co-chair of the RUSH SIG, she is excited to build a community of people interested in the particularities of health and healthcare in the U.S. in hopes of shaping research, policy and practice.


Katharina Rynkiewich, co-chair
Washington University in St. Louis

Katharina Rynkiewich is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis interested in structures of infectious disease care in the United States. Katharina’s current work aims to elicit the tensions, conflicts, and struggles of infectious disease practitioners as they implement antimicrobial stewardship protocols and influence antibiotic prescribing habits in the inpatient setting.


Science and Medicine in South Asia

Nayantara Sheoran Appleton, co-chair
Victoria University of Wellington

Nayantara Sheoran Appleton is a Lecture in the cultural anthropology program at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research and teaching interests fall in the fields of anthropology (medical, feminist, and visual), cultural studies, feminist theories, and Science and Technology Studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled, Emergency Contraception in India: Media, Liberalization, and Reimagined Family Planning, which critically analyzes the politics of health and reproduction in India by focusing on pharmaceutical contraceptives and their marketing within neo-liberal and neo-Malthusian frameworks. Her second project, which was part of her post-doctoral research, extends her engagement with bio-medically promoted regenerative medicine and burgeoning biotechnologies. In particular, she is interested in the ‘ethics of governance, and governance of ethics’ around stem cell research and therapies in India. Having worked in medical spaces, she’s interested in how anthropological methodologies are employed by social-scientists to generate data and a robust understanding of the culture(s) of contemporary medical sciences. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a postdoctoral research fellowship through an European Research Council (ERC) grant.


Bharat Jayram Venkat, co-chair
University of Oregon

Bharat Jayram Venkat is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon. He has been conducting ethnographic and historical research in India since 2006 on issues related to science & medicine, temporality, ethics and design. His research has received support from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute for Indian Studies and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation. He is currently writing his first book, tentatively titled India after Antibiotics: Tuberculosis at the Limits of Cure. This work asks about what it means to be cured by tracing ideas of the curable and incurable in tuberculosis treatment and research from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, specifically in India. He has written about ethical reasoning in the clinic, the history of antibiotic research, drug resistance in India, and the graphic possibilities of triage and rationing when antibiotics fail.


Science, Technology, and Medicine Group

Danya Glabau, co-chair
Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Danya Glabau is Core Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, where she teaches courses in STS and anthropology. Her work on biomedicine and patient activism in the United States blends STS and Medical Anthropology to investigate how morality, political economy, and patient experience influences what counts as “good” health care. Her current book project, Reproducing Safety: Food Allergy Advocacy and the Politics of Care, examines food allergy activism in the United States and its relationship to gendered care work, entrepreneurship, and the global pharmaceutical economy. She received her PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and a BA in Biological Sciences from Cornell University.

Katrina Karkazis, co-chair
Yale University

Katrina Karkazis is a cultural anthropologist with extensive training in science and technology studies, gender studies, and empirical bioethics. Her work challenges entrenched scientific and medical beliefs about gender, sexuality, and the body across a range of specialized topics. The research and writing that results is deeply interdisciplinary, but singularly focused—on the promotion of social justiceShe is currently writing a book, T: The Unauthorized Biography that examines the varied identities of testosterone in U.S. culture. In collaboration with Rebecca Jordan-Young, the title is under contract with Harvard University Press and has support from the National Science Foundation and the Brocher Foundation, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Research Fellowship. This book stems from her work on “sex testing” and sports policies that ban women athletes for having naturally high testosterone. This research has appeared in Science, The American Journal of Bioethics, and BMJ. Later, she contributed to Dutee Chand’s successful appeal of the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism regulation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and served as an expert witness in the hearing. She began my career looking at controversies over treatment for people with intersex traits, which resulted in Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience (Duke 2008). Her research has been covered in the New York Times, Time, BuzzFeed, The Week, CNN, ESPN, The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Jezebel, Slate, The Advocate, La Liberation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, San Jose Mercury News, and the Toronto Star. She’s also appeared on The World, BBC, CBS News, NBC News, KCBS, CTV News, Q Radio, Al Jazeera, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among others.