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Anthropology Graduate Program / Medical Anthropology

Medical Anthropology

Medical and Health Anthropology at the University of Kentucky

The Anthropology department at the University of Kentucky provides a focus on cultural and biocultural approaches to the study of health, medicine, and the body. Faculty and students in cultural and biological anthropology share broad interests in anthropological studies of health, disasters, environments, and ecologies. We also share interests in the cultural, historical and political-economic conditions of illness and well being in relation to structures of power, agency and resilience. Faculty and students whose work focuses on health and illness also share a fundamental concern with the study of social forces on the production/reproduction of health inequalities, and the everyday experiences of individuals and communities encountering or contesting them.

Laboratory technicians processing diagnostic tests at the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Tbilisi, Georgia. (Photo Credit: E. Koch)

Departmental faculty expertise includes critical studies of health inequalities; anthropological studies of biomedicine; feminist science and technology studies; the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality with health; global health; and health among contemporary and prehistoric populations. Core faculty research interests include: environmental health; infectious disease; emerging disease and technologies; nutrition; child heath; paleopathology; disaster-related illnesses and injuries; environmental influences on health; and national and global health standards and policies.

Students interested in health, culture, and power will work with core faculty to develop specialized training. They will also complete requirements defined by the broader curriculum, and are encouraged to pursue topics that intersect other areas of departmental expertise. 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).


Health and Illness Anthropology Faculty

  • Crystal Felima: Disaster and emergency health, ecological crises, environmental justice, risk assessment, community-based disaster risk reduction, mapping and geographies; Caribbean
  • Erin Koch: Medical anthropology, ethnography of science and technology, globalization and health, infectious disease, displacement, humanitarianism, the state; Georgia (country), Eastern Europe and Eurasia, the U.S.
  • Julia Ravenscroft: Environmental contaminants and child health; biocultural and biomedical anthropology; developmental origins of disease; environmental justice; community-based participatory research
  • Heather A. Worne: Bioarchaeology, paleopathology, epidemiological transitions, Southeastern North American archaeology, forensic anthropology, biocultural anthropology, taphonomy

Affiliated Faculty

  •  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 and Health Anthropology Courses