SMA Dissertation Award: Deadline Extended to July 15

In 2006, the Society for Medical Anthropology inaugurated the Medical Anthropology Students Association (MASA) to recognize and serve student members of the society. Students make up one-third of SMA’s membership and represent the future of the field. One way for SMA to honor its student members is through inauguration of an award recognizing the excellence of a recently completed doctoral dissertation. To that end, the SMA Executive Board has established the SMA Dissertation Award (formerly called the “MASA Dissertation Award”), created to recognize an outstanding dissertation in the field of medical anthropology, broadly defined.

On a biennial basis (every odd year) the SMA Dissertation Award is given to the author of a dissertation which is judged to be a significant and potentially influential contribution to medical anthropology. Dissertations are judged on the basis of: (1) scope and excellence of scholarship, including ethnographic research; (2) originality of subject matter; (3) effectiveness and persuasiveness of arguments; and (4) writing quality. Dissertation research of exceptional courage and difficulty is given special consideration. For details, contact Becky Read-Wahidi (

The SMA Dissertation Award will be publicly announced during the SMA awards ceremony, held during the annual AAA meeting. The winner will receive a $500 cash award and a plaque.

The SMA Dissertation Award Committee strongly encourages submission of nominations for the competition. Submissions must be dissertations approved, accepted, and filed as the final version with the candidate’s university within nomination deadline period. For the current nomination period, dissertations submitted to the university between the period of July 1, 2011 – July 1, 2013 will be considered. The candidate’s dissertation advisor should attest that this is the copy submitted. Candidates should specify any of dissertation committee members who they feel should not to be included as a reviewer (e.g., they are your advisor; you have a working relationship that would prevent objectivity, etc.).


Students planning on (or interested in) submitting their work should review the Dissertation Award Page for complete details regarding the submission process. You must send a PDF of your dissertation to the Committee Chair, Becky Read-Wahidi, on or before the final date.

Letters of Nomination

Candidates for the award need not have received their PhD degrees in a department of anthropology, nor in a North American university. However, letters of nomination must state why the dissertation contributes to the field of medical anthropology. Two letters of nomination, one from the candidate’s dissertation advisor and one from a dissertation committee member, should be sent electronically to each of the SMA Dissertation Award Committee members.

For details, contact Becky Read-Wahidi (, SMA Dissertation Award Committee Chair.