Medical Anthropology

The concentration in medical anthropology at the University of Kentucky provides formalized theoretical and methodological training for graduate students interested in critical, cultural and biocultural approaches to the study of health, medicine, and the body. Faculty and students focusing on medical anthropology share broad interests in cultural, historical and political-economic conditions of illness and well being, as well as the production and distribution of biomedical knowledge. Participants in the program share a fundamental concern with the study of social forces in health inequalties, and everyday experiences of individuals and communities encountering or contesting them.

Laboratory technicians processing diagnostic tests at the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Tbilisi, Georgia.Laboratory technicians processing diagnostic tests at the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo by Erin Koch.

Departmental faculty expertise includes critical studies of health; science and technology studies; the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality with health; global health; and epidemiology and public health among contemporary and prehistoric populations. Core faculty research interests include women's health and community based activism; infectious disease; emerging disease and technologies; chronic diseases; nutrition; child health; paleopathology; environmental influences on health; and global health standards and policies.

Students enrolled in the medical anthropology concentration will work with core faculty to develop specialized training. They will also complete requirements defined by the broader graduate curriculum, and are encouraged to pursue topics that intersect other areas of departmental expertise. Medical anthropology students may elect to participate in Graduate Certificate Programs in other units on campus, including the Department of Behavioral Science (College of Medicine), Gender and Women's Studies Department, Appalachian Studies, Latin American Studies, and the Program in Social Theory (College of Arts and Sciences).

Medical Anthropology Faculty

  • Mary Anglin, Department of Anthropology.
    Medical anthropology, breast cancer/reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, cultural anthropology, gender, political economy; Appalachia and U.S., Latin America.
  • Deborah Crooks, Department of Anthropology.
    Biocultural anthropology, nutritional anthropology, livelihoods and food/nutrition security, the political-economy of child growth, the biology of inequality, human adaptability.
  • Erin Koch, Department of Anthropology.
    Medical anthropology, ethnography of science and technology, globalization and health, infectious disease, displacement, humanitarianism, the state; Georgia (country), former Soviet Union, the U.S
  • Heather A. Worne, Department of Anthropology.
    Bioarchaeology, paleopathology, epidemiological transitions, Southeastern North American archaeology, forensic anthropology, biocultural anthropology, taphonomy

Affiliated Faculty

  • Lee Blonder, Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine.
    Medical anthropology, brain and behavior, evolution of language, emotion and psychopathology.
  • Robert F. Kraus, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine.
    Cultural anthropology, cultural psychiatry, culture and personality; Arctic and Subarctic.
  • Nancy Schoenberg, Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine.
    Medical anthropology, health and aging, chronic disease management, qualitative methodology; North America.
  • Jean Wiese, Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine.
    Medical anthropology, communications, response to illness; Caribbean.

Medical Anthropology Courses

  • Gender, Ethnicity, and Health
  • Advanced Seminar in Medical Anthropology
  • Critical Studies of Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Global Health: People, Institutions and Change
  • Biomedical Technologies and Power
  • Culture, Power and the Body


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