Executive Board


Carolyn Smith-Morris, 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.


Sean Brotherton, President-Elect
New York University

(Ph.D., McGill University, 2004) is a Professor of Anthropology at New York University.   He is a cultural anthropologist who studies and theorizes health, medicine, the state, subjectivity, and psychoanalysis. Across his research, he asks: What constitutes health or well-being, or the notion of a healthy subject, to whom does it matter, and why?  His 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). A complete list of his other publications is available on academia.edu.


Salih Can Açiksöz, Prize Committee Chair
University of California, Los Angeles

Salih Can Aciksoz is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research areas include critical disability studies, masculinities, political violence, reproductive technologies, affect, humanitarianism, and the Far Right. He is the author of Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey (University of California Press, 2019), which won the Fatima Mernissi Book Award, which is given by the Middle East Studies Association to the best work in studies of gender, sexuality, and women’s lived experience. His new project examines the politics of humanitarianism in the militarized and conflict-ridden Turkish/Kurdish/Syrian borderlands.

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.

Erin Koch,  AAA/SMA Conference Program Committee Chair
University of Kentucky

Erin Koch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. She works at the intersections of cultural and medical anthropology, feminist STS, and interdisciplinary multispecies studies. Erin’s research focuses on global health inequalities with a particular focus on the ways in which human-microbe relationships are experienced and negotiated through health interventions, institutions, and practices at various scales. She is the author of Free Market Tuberculosis: Managing Epidemics in Post-Soviet Georgia. Erin has also conducted research on the relationships between health, protracted displacement, and governmental and non-governmental programs for internally displaced persons in the country Georgia. Her current research examines relationships between plant-human-microbe health and the opportunities community-based organizations generate for understanding and improving local communities, ecologies and wellbeing.

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, 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.

Thurka Sangaramoorthy, Elections Committee Chair
American University

Thurka Sangaramoorthy is Professor of Anthropology at the American University. She is a cultural anthropologist with specific expertise in medical anthropology and social epidemiology. She conducts community-engaged ethnographic research, including rapid assessments, among vulnerable populations in the United States, Africa, and Latin America/Caribbean. Her work is broadly concerned with how everyday experiences of individuals and communities intersect with institutional policies and practices. She has worked at this intersection on diverse topics, including global health and migration, HIV/STD, health system inequities, environmental racism, and critical studies of racialization. She is the author of Treating AIDS: Politics of Difference, Paradox of Prevention (Rutgers, 2014), and co-author of Rapid Ethnographic Assessments: A Practical Approach and Toolkit for Collaborative Community Research (Routledge, 2020). Her current book projects include (1) Afterlives of AIDS (Aevo, University of Toronto Press, forthcoming), based on oral history narratives of older Black women living and aging with HIV in Washington DC, for which she won the 2020 New Directions Prize from the American Anthropological Association General Anthropology Division and (2) Immigration and the Landscape of Care in Rural America, an ethnography of the inherent relations between immigration, health, and rural precarity, using Maryland’s Eastern Shore as a case study, for which she was awarded the Rudolf Virchow Professional Paper Prize by SMA’s Critical Global Health Caucus in 2018. She also routinely writes on issues of racism and health inequities for public audiences, including recent commentaries in Newsweek, Inside Higher Ed, The Conversation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Sapiens.

Ayo Wahlberg, SMA Communications Committee Chair
University of Copenhagen, ayo.wahlberg@anthro.ku.dk

Ayo Wahlberg is Professor MSO at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. Working broadly within the field of social studies of (bio)medicine, his research has focused on traditional herbal medicine (in Vietnam and the United Kingdom), reproductive and genetic technologies (in China and Denmark) as well as health metrics (in clinical trials and global health). In his current project “The Vitality of Disease – Quality of Life in the Making”, funded by the European Research Council (2015-2021), a team of ethnographers are exploring how chronic living forms the everyday lives of millions of people who live with (chronic) conditions throughout the world and has emerged as a therapeutic site. He is the author of Good Quality – the Routinization of Sperm Banking in China (University of California Press), co-editor of Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century (Palgrave MacMillan) co-editor of Southern Medicine for Southern People – Vietnamese Medicine in the Making (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) and editor at the interdisciplinary journal BioSocieties (Palgrave Macmillan).

MASA Liaison

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

Ex-Officio Members & Staff

Laura Louise Heinsen, SMA Listserv and Communities’ Manager
Health and Care Administration, the Municipality of Copenhagen

Laura Louise Heinsen holds a PhD from the department of Culture and Learning at Aalborg University, Copenhagen. She is currently employed as a research coordinator at the Health and Care Administration at the Municipality of Copenhagen, working towards strengthening research collaborations between various research environments studying health, illness and care and municipal players. Her own research centers on critical aspects of selective reproduction, illness, health and care – and how structural conditions and normativities shape people’s lives and actions in the Danish welfare state. Her ethnographic dissertation, titled “The Moral Labor of Making Death: An Ethnography of Second-trimester Selective Abortion in Welfare State Denmark”, explores how termination for fetal anomaly is legitimated, authorized, effectuated and experienced at the nexus of law, biomedicine and everyday lives.

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.

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

SMA Assistant

Jocelyn Bell, societymedanthassistant@gmail.com

Past Board and Ex Officio Service List

SMA Board Roster

SMA Ex Officio Roster