Executive Board


P. Sean Brotherton, President
New York University

Sean Brotherton is Professor of Anthropology at New York University.   He is a cultural anthropologist who studies and theorizes health, medicine, the state, subjectivity, and psychoanalysis.  Brotherton’s research intervenes in debates of medical anthropology, the anthropology of the body, and Latin American and Caribbean studies.  Across his work, he asks: What constitutes health or well-being, or the notion of a healthy subject, to whom does it matter, and why?  Over the past two decades, his overarching research questions have sought to weave historical, epistemological, and ethnographic modes of analysis into a theoretical approach that he calls a ‘genealogy of individual bodily practices.’ Within this framework, he examines the sometimes contradictory and overlapping relationships among quotidian individual practices, economic reform, and state power. Brotherton’s books include two monographs (Revolutionary Medicine: Health and the Body in Post-Soviet Cuba(Duke University Press) and Global Health, Otherwise: Cuba and the Politics of Care(under contract by Duke UP). He is currently working on another project, Armed Against Unhappiness: Psychoanalytic Grammars in Buenos Aires, which examines how diverse psychoanalytic communities in Buenos Aires have produced distinctive grammars that influence how individuals articulate ideas about health and well-being. A complete list of his publications is available on academia.edu.

Carolyn Smith-MorrisPast President
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Smith-Morris is a medical anthropologist with expertise in chronic and complex illness, mixed methodologies including community- and home-based participatory research, and minority and Indigenous health. She has trained and led collaborative teams in urban, rural, and remote settings. She is also an enthusiastic instructor and mentor to students, with whom she frequently collaborates and co-authors. Dr. Smith-Morris received her B.A. in Anthropology from Emory University, an M.S. in Rehabilitation Services from Florida State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from The University of Arizona. She is a settler, cisgender female Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the O’Donnell School of Public Health. She publishes to a broad, interdisciplinary audience through journals such as: Social Science & Medicine, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, BMC Health Services Research, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, and the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science. And her books include two monographs (Diabetes Among the Pima by U. Arizona Press, and Indigenous Communalism by Rutgers U. Press), two edited volumes (Chronic Conditions, Fluid States with Lenore Manderson, Rutgers U. Press; and Diagnostic Controversy by Routledge Press).

Steven P Black, Treasurer
Georgia State University

Steven P. Black is associate professor of anthropology at Georgia State University. His research explores global health discourses at the intersection of medical and linguistic anthropology with a focus on topics such as ethics, stigmatization, techno-optimism, and performance based on fieldwork in South Africa, Costa Rica, and the United States. He is the author of Speech and Song at the Margins of Global Health: Zulu Tradition, HIV Stigma, and AIDS Activism in South Africa (Rutgers University Press, 2019) and co-editor (with Lynnette Arnold) of a special issue of Medical Anthropology (39[7]), titled “Communicating Care.”

Narelle Warren, Secretary
Monash University, Australia 


Narelle Warren is a medical anthropologist and Associate Professor at Monash University (Australia). Her research explores the experiences of chronic conditions and care in structurally and geographically vulnerable communities. She has a particular focus on gender, ageing, and global health. Her current research entitled ‘Global Dementias’ explores understandings of dementia and dementia care in Australia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.


President-Elect – tbd


Jane L. Saffitz, Prize Committee Chair

Denison University


Jane Leslie Saffitz is an Assistant Professor of Cultural and Medical Anthropology at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Her research focuses on contested bodies as they are taken up in diverse projects within and beyond biomedicine, including justice-based movements for minoritized groups in the Global South. Saffitz’s first project examines albinism in Tanzania, as both a genetic condition and category that exceeds biomedicine. Her book manuscript, Lightness and Alterity, traces of the collapse of practices ordinarily separated as violent or humanitarian, spiritual or scientific, inscrutable or manifest, and, in their wake, makes the case for a semiotic approach to unruly bodies and categories. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Fulbright-Hays Program, Wenner-Gren Foundation, University of California, and Denison University. Her latest article, “Realms Unseen,” was published in American Ethnologist. Prior to serving on the SMA Executive Board, she chaired the SMA’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Integrative Medicine (CAM/IM) Interest Group.

Chelsey Carter, Mentoring Committee Chair
Princeton University

Chelsey R. Carter is an anthropologist of medicine, public health, and race and a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University. Her research program examines how racialized knowledge, oppression, and marginalization impact Black Americans at the intersection of biomedicine and public health. Her ethnographic dissertation project informs her first book project, which examines how the illness experiences of Black and white Americans living with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) are mediated by socio-cultural productions of ALS knowledge and anti-Black racism. Her forthcoming research projects investigate medical cannabis and caregiving in ALS communities and genomic medicine targeted toward Black Americans. Chelsey’s scholarship and personal praxis are rooted in a Black feminist methodological and epistemological tradition. Her public and scholarly work has been published in Anthropology News, Scientific American, Museum Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Journal for the Anthropology of North America, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

Kristin Hedges, AAA/SMA Conference Program Committee Co-Chair

Grand Valley State University


Dr. Hedges is an associate professor of anthropology at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.  She is an applied medical anthropologist with a focus on using community-based ethnographic research approaches to understand local cultural construction of health, illness, and risk. Her research interests are linked to gender inequality and health; including substance use, HIV/AIDS, infectious disease, health emergencies, and traditional medicinal knowledge. Dr Hedges received her MA in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State University and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona.  She publishes to a broad, interdisciplinary audience through journals such as: Journal of Ethnobiology, Journal of Youth Studies, Anthropology & Medicine, and Human Organization.


Carlos Martinez, AAA/SMA Conference Program Committee Co-Chair

University of California, Santa Cruz


My research lies at the intersection of medical anthropology, public health, and Latinx/Latin American studies. In its various manifestations, my research examines the health consequences and sociocultural implications of migrant policing, deportation, our fractured asylum system, environmental injustice, and the global War on Drugs. I am currently developing my first book manuscript, tentatively titled Captive States: Migration and Expulsion on the Carceral Frontier, which ethnographically examines how the U.S. deportation regime and predatory asylum bureaucracies have transformed the U.S.-Mexico borderland region into a zone of captivity for Central American migrants and Mexican deportees. Based on ongoing ethnographic fieldwork conducted since 2018, this project examines the everyday lives and survival strategies of these communities in Tijuana, Mexico. Moving between migrant and homeless encampments, governmental and private shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, and activist-run medical clinics, this project analyzes the lives of those subjected to intersecting forms of confinement and targeted attrition at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Michelle Munyikwa, Policy Committee Chair
Resident, Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania & Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Michelle Munyikwa received her MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021 and is a current resident in combined internal medicine & pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her PhD in anthropology in 2019. Her book project in progress based on her dissertation, The Spatial Promise of Refuge, examines care for asylum seekers and refugees in Philadelphia. She also serves as a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s Center for Health Equity Advancement, where she has contributed to scholarship in medical education, particularly training in the medical social sciences for health professions trainees, health equity and systems practice, and racial justice in medicine. Her work has been published in Academic Medicine; Science, Technology, and Human Values; and the New England Journal of Medicine. She is currently a contributing writer and section editor for Synapsis: A Health Humanities Journal.

Adeola Oni-Orisan, Elections Committee Chair and Prize Committee Co-Chair

University of California, San Francisco 

Adeola Oni-Orisan is a medical anthropologist and family physician with specific clinical interest in reproductive health, adolescent health, addiction, and community health. In her research, she engages critical race theory, Black feminist studies, and science and technology studies to examines how ideas about Blackness, gender, and health are reinforced, deployed and resisted in struggles for health and well-being. She has conducted research on issues related to reproductive health in Nigeria, Zambia, and the United States. Her book project, “To Be Delivered: Pregnant and Born Again in Nigeria” is an ethnographic and historical exploration of the lived experiences of pregnant Nigerians as they navigate intersecting yet competing systems of care proposed by state, church, and international development organizations in search of successful deliveries. She received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and her Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the joint program at the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley.

Yesmar Oyarzun, Student Member-At-Large and MASA Liaison
Rice University

Yesmar is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University where she is pursuing certificates in Women and Gender Studies and Critical and Cultural Theory. Her research follows dermatology residents as they learn how to do their work in diverse US cities. Yesmar’s research takes special interest in understanding how categories to describe and classify skin based on color are made and applied in dermatology, specifically in the broader context of an already racialized society. Before matriculating at Rice, Yesmar also earned a Master of Public Health from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


Aalyia Feroz Ali Sadruddin, SIG Liaison

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, aalyia@unc.edu

Aalyia Feroz Ali Sadruddin is an Assistant Professor of Cultural and Medical Anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on demographic transitions, cultures of health, and emergent biomedical technologies in postconflict settings. Sadruddin is currently writing her first book, After-After-Lives, which is an ethnographic examination of aging, creative modes of expression, and intergenerational experiences of time in the decades following ethnic and political violence in Rwanda. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University. She has published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Medical Anthropology, Anthropology Now, and Social Science & Medicine.

William Lucas, SMA Communications Committee Chair

California State University, Dominguez Hills


William Lucas is Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. His work crosscuts medical anthropology, focusing on food and nutrition, disability anthropology, and biocultural approaches to rehabilitation broadly conceived. His current project is mixed methods and multimodal where he is conducting archival research on assistive technologies vis-à-vis paralysis alongside oral history interviews with paralysis patients with diverse injury time spans. This research has valuable implications for the social model of disability as well as concepts such as intersectionality, necropolitics, and inclusivity.

MASA Liaison

Yesmar Oyarzun, Student Member-At-Large and MASA Liaison
Rice University

Ex-Officio Members & Staff

Deven Gray, SMA Listserv and Communities’ Manager
Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida
Center for the Advancement of Food Security and Healthy Communities (CAFSHC)

Deven Gray is a PhD student in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida. His dissertation concerns food bank responses efforts during and post-COVID-19 pandemic times, and is undergoing PhD candidacy this Spring, 2024. He is an applied medical anthropologist with experience in public health interventions, program evaluation, and addressing pandemic health concerns. He served as assistant editor for the applied anthropology journal, Human Organization, and has published academic articles on Zika virus, COVID-19, food security, and an edited chapter on the anthropology of food. Additionally, he has served as a program evaluator and report writer on multiple Feeding America food assistance programs and health interventions, and continues to serve as an evaluator for the Hillsborough Homegrown food systems initiative.

Anika Jugović Spajić, Digital Communications Manager
University of Pittsburgh

Anika Jugović Spajić is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her interests lie in the intersection of medical anthropology and anthropology of the state. Her dissertation concerns the practices of patient-activists with diabetes and the ongoing negotiations of their positions and caregiving responsibilities in the larger matrix of the public-private healthcare system in Serbia. She is also interested in the interplay between chronicity and politics of pandemics. She sometimes tweets here: @_p_anika.

Lauren Belong, SMA Webmaster


Lauren is the webmaster for medanthro.net and the Editorial Assistant for BioSocieties. Lauren’s previous research interests include children’s voices on ADHD, and feminist research on sex trafficking and barriers to exiting prostitution.

Alex Nading, Medical Anthropology Quarterly Editor
Cornell University

Alex Nading is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. His research examines the interface of biomedicine, public health, and environmental change in Latin America. He is the author of Mosquito Trails: Ecology, Health, and the Politics of Entanglement (University of California Press, 2014). His current research involves ethnographic work with environmental health activists on Nicaraguan sugarcane plantations, and collaborative research on futures, infrastructures, and qualities of life in periurban Managua.

Melissa (Mel) Salm, Anthropology News SMA Contributing Co-Editor
University of California, Davis

Melissa (Mel) Salm is a PhD candidate in the department of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is currently completing her dissertation on One Health approaches to global health research in Peru. Her doctoral thesis depicts a contemporary moment in the history of infectious disease epidemiology characterized by ecological orientations to disease emergence at “the human-animal-environment interface”. The dissertation also examines the entangled histories of US naval medicine and infectious disease research in Latin American and the Caribbean, thereby drawing critical attention to the legacies of power, empire, and the politics of security that undergird contemporary global health research partnerships across the Americas.

Victoria Sheldon, Anthropology News SMA Contributing Co-Editor
University of Toronto

Victoria Sheldon is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Entitled Vital Bodies, Natural Cures: Moral Quests for Care in Kerala, South India, her dissertation lies at the intersection of medical anthropology, the anthropology of ethics and morality, and political-social histories of the body in South Asia. Based on thirty months of continuous ethnographic fieldwork, she examines how non-professionalized nature cure and herbal healers in Kerala, South India provide care in the midst of a mediatized health crisis of chronic lifestyle diseases. Identifying as public health activists, these healers aim to repair ill bodies, revitalize the toxic environment, and nonviolently respond to moral collapse. Her dissertation examines the historical present of Kerala, while also stepping back to inquire about the human condition: what does it mean for the body to be invoked as the medium of self-healing, as opposed to a static object upon which the norms of medical interventions are written?

SIG Membership Coordinator – tbc

Nadia Mbonde, SMA Assistant


New York University,  nnm259@nyu.edu

Nadia Mbonde is a doctoral student in Sociocultural Anthropology at New York University, a National Science Foundation fellow, concurrently pursuing a certificate in Culture & Media at NYU, a nationally respected program in media documentation. Nadia’s research interests lie at the intersection of medical anthropology, disability studies, Mad studies, and Black feminist theory. Her current project addresses how perinatal mental health disparities contribute to the Black maternal mortality and morbidity crisis in the United States.

Past Board and Ex Officio Service List

SMA Board Roster

SMA Ex Officio Roster