SIG Chairs

Special Interest Group Chairs and Contact Details


AIDS and Anthropology

Corliss D. Heath

Elizabeth Pfieffer

Elijah Edelman


Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Study Group

Breanne Casper

Shana Harris
University of Central Florida 
(407) 823-4963

Shana Harris is a medical anthropologist with over a decade of experience researching drug use and abuse and health politics and practice in Latin America and the United States. Her dissertation and postdoctoral research ethnographically examined the adoption and promotion of harm reduction interventions in Argentina. Her current research focuses on medical travel and the use of a psychedelic called ibogaine for drug treatment in Mexico. Her articles have appeared in several scholarly journals, including Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Human Organization, and Substance Use & Misuse. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida.


Anthropology and Mental Health

Beatriz M. Reyes-Foster, co-chair
University of Central Florida 

Beatriz Reyes-Foster is a medical anthropologist and associate professor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida. Her research considers the ways medical systems reproduce colonial relationships in the context of psychiatric hospitalization. She is interested in health inequalities, indigeneity, race, and illness experience. Her theoretical orientation is strongly influenced by critiques of coloniality and power and a commitment to epistemic plurality. She has conducted ethnographic research in Yucatan, Mexico, since 2003. Most recently, she has concluded research on reproductive health and infant feeding in Central Florida. She is the author of Psychiatric Encounters: Madness and Modernity in Yucatan, Mexico.

Melinda Gonzalez


Anthropological Responses to Health Emergencies

Kristin Hedges, PhD
Grand Valley State University

Kristin Hedges is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Grand Valley State University. Her research interests are linked to gender inequality and health; including HIV/AIDS, infectious disease, reproductive health, juvenile justice, and substance abuse. Her work focuses on structural vulnerability and how local contexts impact health and healing. She conducts research in Kenya and the US.

Deon Claiborne


Complementary and Alternative Medicine / Integrative Medicine Group

Jane L. Saffitz, co-chair
University of California, Davis

Jane L. Saffitz is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She holds an MSW in Policy Practice and International Social Welfare from Columbia University, and a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis. Her work explores the politics of albinism in Tanzania, where in recent years a minority population of people with light skin—biomedically said to have albinism—have been murdered and violently attacked. She conducted over 22 months of fieldwork between 2012 and 2018 funded by the Fulbright-Hays Program, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the University of California. The resulting dissertation details the work of traditional healers and laborers in extractive industries who are rumored to use albino body parts in medicines, as well as the activism of transnational albinism rights NGOs, humanitarians, scientists, and journalists who aim to transform albinism into a uniformly understood artifact of biomedical knowledge. More broadly, Jane’s research and teaching interests address violence and humanitarianism; social movements, development, and the future; and comparative epistemologies of health and healing in East Africa.

Elisha Oliver

Michael Oldani


Council on Anthropology and Reproduction

Rebecca Mischel-Howes

Adrienne Strong


Critical Anthropology of Global Health

Emily Mendenhall

Lauren Carruth


Disability Research Interest Group (DRIG)

Zoe Wool

Zhiying Ma


Margaret Souza
SUNY/Empire State College
(646) 882-3118

Margaret Souza is a medical anthropologist who received her doctorate and master’s degree in anthropology from the graduate faculty at the New School. She also holds a master’s in social work from Wayne State University. Her research has focused on end-of-life issues in both acute care and long-term care facilities in New York City, where she served as a researcher, educator, and practitioner. She is the author of “The Many Ways We Talk about Death in Contemporary Society: Interdisciplinary Studies in Portrayal and Classification.”

Maija Butters
University of Helsinki

Maija Butters (MA, Cultural Anthropology; PhD, Study of Religion) works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. Her research involves various aspects of death and dying in contemporary Europe, and especially issues related to existential meaning-making at the end of life in postsecular societies. Maija is involved with hospice education in Finland, where she lectures on culturally sensitive patient care at hospitals and medical conferences. She also teaches both within and outside the academy on death cultures and rituals in a range of religious traditions.


Health Professions Education

Dennis W. Wiedman
Florida International University

Chair Dennis W. Wiedman, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies. School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University.  Miami, Florida. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma (1979) with training in medical anthropology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He joined the Office of Transcultural Education and Research, Psychiatry Department, University of Miami School of Medicine where he directed a community mental health unit. His research areas include Native American health, Peyotism as a health care system, and Type II diabetes.  He taught courses primarily in medical anthropology, anthropological theory, ethnohistorical research methods, introduction to anthropology, and Indigenous studies.   In his role as FIU University Accreditation Officer and lead strategic planner (1990-2004), he envisioned the new FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine incorporating medical anthropology principles and a community focus. He served on the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association in the practicing/professional seat (2001-2004), President of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (2006-2008) and founding Director of the FIU Global Indigenous Forum (2013-2021). With Co-editor Iveris Martinez they published 2021 “Anthropology in Medical Education: Sustaining Engagement and Impact.” (Springer Press).  

Iveris L. Martinez
California State University

Co-Chair Iveris L. Martinez, PhD is Professor, Archstone Foundation Endowed Chair in Gerontology, and Director of the Center for Successful Aging at the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Long Beach. As founding faculty of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (Florida International University) she served as Chief of the Division of Medicine & Society, chaired the Admissions Committee, and taught health disparities, cultural competency, and social determinants of health.  She also led an annual interprofessional clinical workshop across the health sciences. An applied anthropologist, she has conducted community-based research on the socio-cultural factors influencing health and aging among Latinos and other minorities, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Macarthur Foundation, and others. Current research interests include workforce development for aging populations, improving services for dementia caregivers and interprofessional efforts to create age-friendly communities. She has served as the Chair of the Board of the Alliance for Aging, Inc., local area agency on aging for Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, founding Chair of the Long Beach Aging Services Collaborative, and President of the Association for Anthropology, Gerontology, and the Life Course. She received a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Population & Family Health Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. 


Medical Anthropology Student Association

Richard Powis
Washington University in St. Louis

I’m a PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. My research interests are in reproductive health, global health, kinship and gender, STS, research methods, ethnographic photography, and West Africa. My ethnographic dissertation, titled “Relations of Reproduction: Men, Masculinities, and Pregnancy in Dakar, Senegal,” is an examination of both how organizations like USAID talk about “men’s involvement” in prenatal care and how men in Dakar navigate gendered social expectations and economic barriers in order to support their pregnant partners. I’ve been a member of the Society for Medical Anthropology since 2012 and a longtime advocate for student-workers’ rights, underrepresented minority students, and open-access publication. Now, as Student Representative to the Executive Board, I’m working to remove the institutional obstacles that students face in their own universities and in our professional organizations, not least of which is bullying, harassment, and abuse. Personal Website:  Twitter:

Carolyne Egesa



Rachel Carmen Ceasar, Ph.D.; Co-Chair
University of California, Berkeley

Rachel Carmen Ceasar is a medical anthropologist, educator, and the founder of Culture of Health+Tech Consulting. Her research in the U.S. has examined the opioid epidemic, clinical information needs at the point of care, and for her next project—the marijuana market and its impact on growers’ health. 

Marieke S. van Eijk, Ph.D.; Co-chair
University of Washington, Seattle
Department of Anthropology

Marieke van Eijk is a medical anthropologist and Lecturer in Medical Anthropology and Global Health at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Armed with a cross-cultural approach, in her research and teaching, she examines the political health care economies and the forms of labor they produce that create substantial health burdens and challenge the provision of affordable, quality care. Focusing on hidden labor in health care, her recent project analyzes the work of administrative personnel charged with processing medical bills who labor behind the scenes to overcome the shortcomings of privatized U.S. managed care. Her previous research investigated transgender health care delivery in the United States.

Leyla Koyuncuoglu


Science, Technology, and Medicine Group

Jacklyn Grace Lacey, co-chair
American Museum of Natural History

Jacklyn Grace Lacey is Senior Museum Specialist of African and Pacific Ethnology in the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her work at AMNH analyzes museum discourses on African culture and technology. Her recent work is exploring the intersections of infectious disease epidemiology, medical anthropology and the environmental humanities. She received funding from the Carter Center to create a multicultural, multilingual curriculum (“Politics, People & Pathogens”) connecting these topics to the ongoing special exhibition about disease eradication at AMNH, “Countdown to Zero.”  She partners with medical practitioners describing the methods and politics of syncretic healing traditions in Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, as well as in Polynesia, the Caribbean and in American diaspora communities. An active museum educator, she is a mentor in the AMNH Science Research Mentorship Program (SRMP) as well as a curriculum writer and educator in the Lang and ASP educational initiatives at AMNH. Recent presentations on these themes include the American Ethnological Society, AAA, the Sydney Environmental Institute, Leeds University (“Post-colonial Disasters”) and “Histories of HIV/AIDS” and “Curating the Future: Museum, Communities and Climate Change,” multinational conferences she co-convened with colleagues at AMNH.

Janelle Lamoreaux, co-chair
University of Arizona

Janelle Lamoreaux is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Arizona. Her work focuses on the anthropology of science and technology as they relate to gender and reproduction. She is especially interested in the intersection of reproductive and environmental health. She is currently finishing a book project based on research in China, where conditions of toxicity and imaginations of bodily interiors and exteriors materialize as epigenetic environments. At Arizona, she teaches and mentors students in medical anthropology, particularly the anthropology of exposure, gender and environmental health.

Polina Vlasenko (Secretary)