In Memoriam of Diane Weiner

Diane Weiner

Diane E. Weiner, 53, Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology at Boston University School of Medicine passed away on June 14, 2013, after suffering a stroke. Diane received her BA in anthropology at Boston University and went on to earn an MA at Stanford, and her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles (1993).

Diane pioneered the ethnographic study of chronic illness and palliative care in Native Americans of southern California. Her work was highly detailed, describing the complex interactions between meanings, history and health practices of southern California tribes with whom she worked. More importantly Diane was committed to an anthropology that engaged closely with the community. She tirelessly worked to ensure that her academic contributions were returned to the community and was used for their benefit. Diane’s nearly twenty years of collaboration with Native Nations in southern California resulted in numerous health education programs and interventions for clinicians and lay people. She was well respected in Native American communities in southern California. Having relocated to the Northeast in 2004, Diane continued her work in California, but since 2006 has worked on projects in Connecticut and other parts of the Northeast. Based at Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Diane worked with the community as part of a team on cancer education and survivorship.

She was a colleague whose generosity and engagement with diverse groups of people allowed her to connect people and ideas, always ensuring that people with similar interests met. Many of her scholarly collaborations are evident in her publications and as an editor of such volumes as Medicine Ways: Disease, Health, and Survival Among Native Americans, with Clifford Trafzer, AltaMira Press, 2001 and Preventing and Controlling Cancer in North America: A Cross Cultural Perspective, Greenwood Press, 1999. With Juliet McMullin, she co-edited Confronting Cancer: Metaphors, Advocacy, and Anthropology published by School of American Research in 2009.

Diane worked with numerous graduate students, directing and encouraging them in their research agenda’s and career paths. Her mentorship and dedication to training graduate students spoke to her generous and kind spirit. Diane engaged students with her passion for medical anthropology, and in her, students found a source of support. She would read countless drafts of papers and offer her insights. Her investment in her student’s and peers demonstrated her belief in the human spirit. She always saw the potential in people and our capacity to connect, to care about the discipline, but more importantly to care about each other. Diane will be remembered for her care, intelligence, kindness, and laughter. She is survived by her husband JR Rosenthal, daughter Ramona Sky Rosenthal, and her sister and brother Jan and Robert Weiner.  A fund has been organized in Diane Weiner’s memory

by Juliet McMullin