Newsletter of the Society for Medical Anthropology
March 2017 / Vol. 5, Issue 1
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In This Issue:

From the SMA President – Spring 2017: Policy, Advocacy, Action

Dear Colleagues:
I am writing to you as the new US president enters his second month in office. The election’s outcome has moved many in the SMA toward action, and our action has been both outwardly and inwardly oriented. For example, member Pamela Runestad has invited us to confront our own sexist, racist, and other biases. Her recent SMA Section News essay (published in the AAA’s Anthropology Newsletter online on January 19) bravely calls out the hierarchies and cliques within AAA—and SMA. These structures summarize, recapitulate, and reinforce race-based, gender-based, sexuality-based (etc.) marginalization—despite the overt claims most anthropologists make regarding the centrality of social justice. As Runestad notes, playing on Laura Nader’s call for us to ‘study up,’ “we need to ‘study in’–not necessarily as a research agenda but as anthropologists committed to applying anthropological concepts to ourselves as a means of political action and advocacy in our own discipline.” There should be plenty of room to do this in sessions and special events planned for the 2017 Annual Meetings.
Beyond talking to ourselves, we must speak out publicly, and we must strive to do so more frequently and more effectively than heretofore. As part of the 2016 Annual Meeting, the AAA’s Committee on Public Policy hosted a Public Policy Forum. Discussion focused on the AAA’s need to create structural, communications, and educational mechanisms to facilitate outwardly-oriented policy work. For instance, panelists and attendees suggested that AAA facilitate policy-oriented press releases for Sections, Interest Groups, and other subunits, and provide formal conduits for communicating with government and other officials. Panelists and attendees also felt that AAA could do more to educate us all regarding effective outreach strategies.
During the Forum, SMA was lauded as a model, not only for having a Policy Chair on our Executive Board (now Andrea Whittaker), and a Policy Committee (consisting of Board members as well as representatives from the membership at large), but also in light of our ‘Takes a Stand’ (TAS) Initiative. Over the years, SMA has taken stands on a variety of public policy issues, ranging from the first policy statement, which concerned the United Nations General Assembly’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, to the recently released Council on the Anthropology of Reproduction (CAR) Statement on Abortion. In between, topics addressed have included immigrant health, clinical drug trials, tobacco control, and health insurance reform (please click here to read more about SMA’s policy documents).
The TAS initiative includes two formal mechanisms for considering and publicly commenting on important public policy issues relating to society and health. (1) The TAS “Policy Relevant Review” (PRR) provides a lengthy period (two years) for SMA participants to conduct in-depth exploration and research on policy concerns to provide a medical anthropological overview of all sides of a key issue. (2) The TAS “Policy Statement” (PS), in contrast, makes policy recommendations grounded in medical anthropology research. Policy Statements are released only after having received Board and then Membership approval. They are generally 2,000-2,500 words long; PRRs are, of course, much longer.
Both TAS products take too long to develop—and to read—to be of use in situations requiring a rapid response. Therefore, to best serve the many SMA members who have requested that SMA speak up for and against certain policy changes stemming from the new presidential administration, with Officer input our Policy Committee developed a brief communiqué focused on changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This letter, based on the examples set by various other organizations (e.g., the Consortium of Universities for Global Health or CUGH), was reviewed by our Special Interest Groups (SIG) chairs, the Board, and AAA leadership. The AAA delivered the final letter to President Trump, Speaker Ryan, Secretary Price, and six more of our nation’s leaders on National Anthropology Day, February 16th (for more details, see SMA offers Trump Administration Advice elsewhere in this issue) and for the full text, click
To our knowledge, this is the first time that SMA has taken this kind of action. Although the approval process did take time, and there was much discussion regarding how to align the letter’s content with member opinion, and how to make it most effective rhetorically, it was not that hard to do. As individuals, SMA members can all take similar steps—and without the added vetting. SMA stuck to an organizationally relevant issue. Individually, however, members can write to whomever they like about whatever they want. Click here to learn more about advocacy recommended by the AAA and here to learn how to get in touch with your elected representatives. To get in touch with the White House, click here.
Another way to make a quick mark is to write for popular platforms. I wrote two blog essays on issues related to the Women’s March on Washington and advocacy for human rights, including a right to reproductive health care (see SAPIENS and Huffington Post). I encourage members to use blogs similarly. Just contact the editors and pitch your ideas.
We can do things together too. For instance, our SIGs are organizing a health policy Roundtable for the 2017 Annual Meetings. They will be able to respond nimbly, next November, to events that will then have only recently emerged. And remember: this year’s meeting is in Washington D.C. As our ACA letter suggested, SMA is ready and willing to help educate our nation’s leadership about health, healthcare, and related issues. Trump asserted, at the National Governor’s meeting on February 27: “Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated.” He obviously has not had a course in medical anthropology. If someone (you?) would like to organize a teach-in for when we are in Washington DC, you will have the support of SMA.
In conclusion, although I still would urge service to and within SMA, today I request that we also turn our service impulse outward. We are all responsible for the health of our nation. As past U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis has stated, “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”
Best regards,
Elisa (EJ) Sobo

President, SMA

SMA Honors J. Bryan Page For 20 Years of Service In Song

As the 2016 Business Meeting came to a close, we enjoyed, as we have for twenty years now, a song honoring outgoing board members and encouraging continuing and new members in their work, written and performed by J. Bryan Page. The songs have been varied and sometimes Dr. Page brings an instrument or has friends help; this time, C. Lance Gravlee also sang. As this year’s song concluded, and Dr. Page turned to make for his seat, he was summoned back to the front of the room by President EJ Sobo, to receive an ad hoc service award for his longstanding musical contributions to SMA. 

“I will never forget the look on Bryan Page’s face,” said Dr. Sobo, who delighted in sharing news of the award with Dr. Page. After her brief commemoration, and presentation of a plaque honoring Dr. Page for “20 years of Service in Song,” the audience burst into song spontaneously, joyfully offering up another chorus of Dr. Page’s 2016 honorific composition, singing “He gave us his talent and time, talent and time. He gave us his talent and time” to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” If you missed the SMA Business Meeting last November, you can listen to the song here.

The honorific tradition began spontaneously itself, as a response, said Dr. Page, “to Sue Estroff’s request at the Business Meeting in 1993 that we make our interest group reports brief and entertaining.” Page stood up when his turn came (his report concerned The Alcohol and Drug Study Group), and then “sang the whole thing in 90 seconds.”
“I thought my song would be a one-time thing,” Page continued, ”but I soon learned from Tom Johnson that there were expectations for the next year (1994 in Atlanta) so I did a take-off on a Mexican corrido.  We started doing honorifics at Carole Browner’s request in 1996, with a send-up of Bach’s Weinachts Oratorium. [SMA thus took 1996 as the official honorific start date.] There were two hiatus years: one in 2000 when Bill Dressler wanted to change things up and in 2004 when we had the hotel workers’ strike.”
SMA is fortunate to have benefited from Dr. Page’s musical largesse for so long (it is, we confess, the main Business meeting attraction for many members). Dr. Page has been a musical performer all of his adult life, singing in chamber groups, church choirs, and as a duo with his younger brother. “My music came in handy during my field work in Latin American locations,” he told us, adding “I also sang as a tenor and countertenor soloist with the University of Florida Symphony, The Florida Philharmonic, the Duke Chapel Choir, and the Costa Rican National Symphony.” On January 20, this year, he performed a solo recital in Miami.
In terms of his scholarship, Dr. Page specializes in studying the consumption of drugs in urban, street based settings. His 42-year career in the anthropology of drug use has focused on the consequences and impacts of various patterns of legal and illegal drug use in a wide variety of cultural settings. His publications include over 100 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and numerous other materials, plus two peer reviewed books co-authored with Merrill Singer (The Social Value of Drug Addicts, 2014; Comprehending Drug Use, 2010). After serving fourteen years as Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Miami, he is returning to a mix of teaching and research.
Inaugural SMA-SPA Speed Mentoring Receives High Marks
By Juan Luque (MUSC), Tawni Tidwell (Emory U), SMA Membership Committee
Photo courtesy of Daniella Santoro (Tulane University).
The Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) and the Society for Psychological Anthropology (SPA) co-sponsored a rollicking Speed Mentoring Event and Reception at the 2016 AAA Meetings in Minneapolis. Each mentee met with four mentors matched to their interests by one of the event co-organizers (Tawni Tidwell, Emory University).
Evaluations collected from the 77 participants confirmed consistently that mentoring should remain on the SMA's AAA program. Representative comments included: “The event went beyond my expectations, everyone was so helpful and collaborative” and, “it was so much better than networking, it was an exchange of ideas.” The overall strengths reported were the details put into to the mentor-mentee matching, the relaxed social atmosphere, and time allotted for each speed mentoring conversation (15-20 minutes). The main suggestions were to hold the event earlier in the day, provide some type of introduction of all the mentors to the mentees either in advance or at the event, and have a larger room so people could spread out more and hear each other better.
The event co-organizers from SMA and SPA, the SMA Membership Committee, and the SMA and SPA Executive Boards would like to thank the event volunteers who included: Carolyne Egesa (MASA liaison and University of Amsterdam), Lara Gunderson (PIRE and University of New Mexico), Elise Trott (PIRE), Daniella Santoro (Tulane University), and Saira Mehmood (Southern Methodist University).
The organizers would like to thank the following mentors who volunteered their time to make the event a success:

Baer, Roberta ("Robbie") (U South Florida)
Basile, Melissa (Northwell Health System)
Brown, Peter (Emory U)
Bruna, Sean (Western Washington U)
Buchbinder, Mara (UNC-Chapel Hill)
Chapin, Bambi (U Maryland Baltimore County)
Dressler, William (“Bill”) (U Alabama)
Feldman, Douglas (SUNY, Brockport)
Guarnaccia, Peter (Rutgers U)
Hay-Rollins, Cameron (Miami U)
Heckert, Carina (UT El Paso)
Korbin, Jill (Case Western U)
Lee, Simon Craddock (UT Southwestern)
Lende, Daniel (U South Florida)
Levin, Betty Wolder (CUNY)
Lowe, Ted (Soka U)
Luhrmann, Tanya (Stanford U)
Luque, John (“Juan”) (Medical U of SC)
McLean, Athena (Central Michigan U)
Mendenhall, Emily (Georgetown U)
Moore, Roland (PIRE)
Moyer, Eileen (U Amsterdam)
Myers, Neely Laurenzo (Southern Methodist U)
Oths, Kathryn ("Kathy") (U Alabama)
Page, J. Bryan (U Miami)
Pritzker, Sonya (U Alabama)
Raikhel, Eugene (U Chicago)
Roedlach, Alex (Creighton U)
Seligman, Rebecca (Northwestern U)
Sobo, Elisa (“EJ”) (San Diego State U)
Strauss, Claudia (Pitzer College)
Weaver, Leslie Jo (U Alabama)
Weller, Susan ("Sue") (U Texas Medical Branch)
Willging, Cathleen ("Catie") (PIRE)
Wolf-Meyer, Matthew (Binghamton U)
Worthman, Carol (Emory U)
Yarris, Kristin (U Oregon)
Photo courtesy of Daniella Santoro (Tulane University).

Congrats 2016 SMA Award Winners!

By Award Committee

Each year, the SMA hosts a Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the AAA Annual Meetings to honor the winners of SMA and SIG prizes. Below is a list of this past year’s awardees.

The Career Achievement Award, given in even numbered years, honors senior scholars who have made significant contributions to the field of medical anthropology throughout their career, evident in theoretical and methodological contributions, and who communicate the relevance of the field to broader publics. SMA was pleased to award this to two recipients, Lenore Manderson (University of the Witwatersrand) and Merrill Singer (University of Connecticut).

Top left: Merrill Singer proudly displaying his Career Achievement Award (photo courtesy of Arachu Castro). Top right: Lenore Manderson accepting her Career Achievement Award.
Career Achievement Award recipients Lenore Manderson and Merrill Singer are flanked by SMA President EJ Sobo on the left and Award Chair James Pfeiffer on the right in Minneapolis.
The Eileen Basker Prize, awarded annually for a significant contribution in research on gender and health (to scholars from any discipline or nation) for a book, article, film or PhD within the preceding three years, was given this year to Joanna Kempner (Rutgers University) for her book Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health.
The committee also bestowed Honorable Mention on two other outstanding works: to Claire Snell-Rood (University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health) for her book No One Will Let Her Live: Women's Struggle for Well-Being in a Delhi Slum and to Kelly Ray Knight (University of California, San Francisco) for her book addicted.pregnant.poor.

The Steven Polgar Prize, awarded to a medical anthropologist for the best paper published in the SMA’s journal Medical Anthropology Quarterly (MAQ) in the most recent year (in this case, Volume 29, 2015), was granted to Mette Svendsen (University of Copenhagen) for her article “Selective Reproduction: Social and Temporal Imaginaries for Negotiating the Value of Life in Human and Animal Neonates.”
The Charles Hughes Graduate Student Paper Prize is awarded in even years and granted to the best graduate paper submission in medical anthropology. This year’s award went to Elizabeth Lewis (University of Texas at Austin) for her paper "What's in a Name: Undiagnosis in a Diagnostic Age."

The MASA (Medical Anthropology Student Association) Graduate Student Mentorship Award is given annually to a senior or mid-career scholar and honors career-long excellence in graduate student teaching and mentoring, especially during the phases of MA and PhD fieldwork and thesis or dissertation writing. This year’s prize went to Charles L. Briggs (University of California, Berkeley).
Jonathan Stillo (Wayne State University) presenting the MASA Graduate Student Mentorship Award to Charles Briggs (UC Berkeley).
Student Travel Awards to AAA Meetings
This year’s travel awards were given to five students, which enabled them to present the following papers at the AAA meeting in Minneapolis:
  • Elsabe du Plessis (U Manitoba), “The Performativity of Quantitative Data Collection on a Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Nutrition Intervention in Eastern Kenya.” 

  • Julie Johnson Searcy (Indiana), “Our Grandmothers Didn't Have the Diseases We do - Prenatal Care, HIV testing, and Gender in South Africa.” 

  • Anne Marie Montgomery (Columbia), "‘Let Sleeping Camels Lie’ - Negotiating Islam, HIV Risk, and Social Change in Morocco.”
  • Jessica Newman (Yale), “Producing ‘Problem Women’: Social Worker Frustrations in Single Mother and HIV/AIDS NGOs in Morocco.” 

  • Aidan Seale-Feldman (UCLA), “Transient, Accidental, Improvised: Psychosocial Care in Post-Disaster Nepal.” 

Various SMA Special Interest Groups (SIGS) also grant a range of awards. This year’s prizes were as follows:

AIDS and Anthropology Research Group Moher Downing Distinguished Service Award
Recipient: Janet McGrath (Case Western Reserve University)
Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Study Group Graduate Student Paper Prize
Recipient: Parsa Bastani (Brown University)
Paper Title: “Thinking Beyond the State’s Risk Management Measures: Infrastructures of Care among Poor Drug Users in Tehran”
Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Graduate Student Travel Grant
Recipient: Lesly-Marie Buer (University of Kentucky)
Paper Title: “‘I'm Stuck’: Women's Navigations of Social Networks and Prescription Drug Misuse in Central Appalachia”

Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group Annual Graduate Student Paper Prize
Recipient: Philippa Fielding (University of Sussex)
Paper Title: “A Discussion on the Psychiatrization of War Survivors in the ‘Developing’ World within the Context of an ‘Epidemic’ of ‘PTSD’”
Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group Annual Professional Paper Prize
Recipient: Whitney Duncan (University of Northern Colorado)
Paper Title:Transnational Disorders: Returned Migrants at Oaxaca’s Psychiatric Hospital”
Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Integrative Medicine Graduate Student Paper Prize
Recipient: Venera Khalikova (University of Pittsburg)
Paper Title: “Rhetoric and Biopolitics of the 'Homegrown' Medicine in India”

Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Integrative Medicine Group Graduate Student Travel Grant
Recipient: Maja de Langen (University of Amsterdam)
Council on Anthropology and Reproduction Most Notable Recent Collection (Book)
Recipients: Silvia De Zordo (University of Barcelona) and Milena Marchesi (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Book Title: Reproduction and Biopolitics: Ethnographies of Governance, "Irrationality" and Resistance 
Council on Anthropology and Reproduction Graduate Student Paper Award
Recipient: Elyse Singer (Washington University in St. Louis)
Paper Title: "Lawful Sinners: Catholic Religiosity and Moral Reckoning Around Abortion in Mexico"
Critical Anthropology of Global Health Study Group Rudolf Virchow Award: Graduate Award Category
Recipient: Thando Malambo (Simon Fraser University; Program Management Officer at International Development Research Center)
Paper Title: "'Worse than HIV': The Political Economy of Cervical Screening in Swaziland"
Critical Anthropology of Global Health Study Group Rudolf Virchow Award: Undergraduate Award Category
Recipient: Maggie Acosta (Bowdoin College)
Paper Title: “India’s Janani Suraksha Yojana: Global Transformations of a National Program and Dissipating the Right to Health”

Critical Anthropology of Global Health Study Group Rudolf Virchow Award:
Professional Category
Recipient: Katharine Mason (Brown University)
Paper Title: “H1N1 is Not a Chinese Virus: The Racialization of People and Viruses in Post-SARS China”
Disability Research Interest Group Travel Awards (Emerging Scholars in the Anthropology of Disability)
Recipients: Christine Sargent (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and Zhiying Ma (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Dying and Bereavement Special Interest Group Graduate Student Paper Award
Recipient: Osman Balkan (University of Pennsylvania)
Paper Title: “Between Civil Society and the State: Bureaucratic Competence and Cultural Mediation among Muslim Undertakers in Berlin"
Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM) Graduate Student Paper Prize
Recipient: Tanja Ahlin (University of Amsterdam, ITM/University of Barcelona)
Paper Title: “Only Near is Dear? Doing Elderly Care with Everyday ICTs in Indian Transnational Families”
Again, congratulations to all of the awardees of 2016!

Tanja Ahlin, proudly displaying the Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM) Graduate Student Paper Prize with Danya Glabau (current STM Chair) and Nayantara Sheoran (STM Secretary). Photo courtesy of Tanja Ahlin.
SMA offers Trump Administration Advice and Assistance in Refining—not Repealing—the ACA

One of the most frequent requests heard by the SMA’s Executive Board at the Annual Meetings in Minneapolis was to ‘do something’ to ensure that the change in US presidential administrations does not put the nation’s health at risk. In response, our Policy Committee drafted a letter that draws on anthropological expertise to defend against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After soliciting input from Special Interest Group leaders, the Board approved the letter unanimously.

The AAA approved the letter too, and on February 16th (National Anthropology Day) it was delivered to President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Secretary Tom Price, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Lamar Alexander, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader-Elect Charles Schumer, and Representative Kevin Brady. The AAA posted the letter’s text on its Website, which you can read here. Downloadable PDF copies of the original are also available on the SMA Website and on the MAQ Website. Feel free to share the link; you may want to send a copy of the letter to your own representatives.

As the letter states, “The Society for Medical Anthropology stands ready to work with the 115th Congress and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives. Through our scholarship and expertise, SMA can be a strong partner in defining appropriate solutions that enable affordable access to health care for all and that work to eliminate disparities in health and healthcare.” Sending the letter represents one small step toward that laudable goal. SMA hopes to continue to advocate for and support research regarding programs and policies that safeguard human health and well-being in the coming year and beyond.
March for Science April 22 – Does SMA Have a Stake?

The March for Science, promoted on as a “celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” has anthropological relevance—both for what it says about US culture and for what it seeks to accomplish politically: the re-legitimization of science and of scholarship in general (ours included). The March also has anthropological roots: co-organizer Valorie V. Aquino is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

As Aquino and colleagues note, “Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists…The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter…Our plans for policy change and community outreach will start with marches worldwide and a teach-in at the National Mall.”

Marching is one way to participate in our nation’s political process and to thereby influence policy—and marching has been endorsed by the AAA. As an official partner in the March, the AAA “joins fellow scientific, academic and educational institutions in support of the national March for Science rally and teach-in in Washington, D.C. on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.” To locate a March for Science near you, click here.

If you’d like to march with an SMA contingent and live near Boston, you are in luck: member Patricia Urdzik is organizing a contingent to march at the Boston Commons on Saturday, April 22, from 2 to 4 pm. If you would like to march with Patricia, or if you are interested in organizing to march in another region’s March for Science contact Patricia.

Patricia has noted that, to establish a visual presence when marching, some have suggested (inspired no doubt by the Women’s March) that marchers wear knitted brain hats. A more recent pattern set includes a DNA motif.

Patricia’s organizing work for the March is part of a larger organizing agenda she shares with Shannon Satterwhite and Katie Rynkiewich. The trio have been developing a network within SMA dedicated to medical anthropology regarding US healthcare. To learn more, or to join the network, click into their facebook page at

SMA Call for Proposals - 2017 Meetings of the AAA

By SMA Program Committee

The Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) welcomes abstracts for individually volunteered papers, posters, sessions, roundtables, and workshops to be considered for inclusion in the SMA program for the 116th Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. This year’s meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., November 29th-December 3rd, 2017, and the theme is ‘Anthropology Matters!’ The SMA encourages prospective organizers of invited sessions to consider co-sponsorship with other AAA sections, and to indicate those potential sections as part of their submission. In keeping with the AAA guidelines, all session proposals will be reviewed by the SMA program committee for consideration as invited sessions.

Please note that there is now a unified deadlineApril 14for the submission of all abstracts for the AAA meetings. The AAA meetings website provides information about the various proposal submission types and how to submit a session.

As you plan, keep in mind that the AAA Program Chair will provide a limited number of Guest Registration Waivers to scholars from disciplines other than anthropology and to international scholars. The deadline for submission of applications is March 31. Click here to access the guest waiver application.
The Committee on World Anthropologies will provide Travel Grants for international scholars to participate at the AAA meetings. The deadline for submission of requests is March 15. Click here to access the travel grant application.
Please contact the SMA program committee with any questions or to discuss ideas for session proposals:

Wanted: Non-Traditional Session Submissions 

Paper presentation panels have long been the mainstay of the Annual Meeting program, and for good reason. However, there are several newer or special formats available this year.

For example, flash sessions, entail rapid-fire, engaging, five-minute performances, each with “a few image rich slides and dynamic spoken content”—“poetry delivered with a punch.” A flash panel has 10-15 presenters, but one also may volunteer individually. Flash sessions are particularly suited to medical anthropology topics with contemporary relevance and to works in progress or upcoming. They are a great way to showcase new work in a topic given area.  

Another session type is the installation. Installations “invite anthropological knowledge off the beaten path” such as through performances, conversations, author-meets-critic roundtables, oral history recording sessions, and other alternative or creative practices. As per the AAA, “Successful proposals will offer attendees an opportunity to learn from a range of vested interests not typically encountered or easily found on the traditional AAA program.” Installations, often staged off-site, “are meant to disrupt who and what we tend to see at the AAA Annual Meeting, helping attendees encounter new people and to do different kinds of things at the intersections of anthropological arts, sciences, and cultural expression.” Many SMA-relevant stakeholders are present in Washington D.C. or the surrounding areas (at NIH, AHRQ, NQF, etc.) that SMA members could call upon in creating exciting and relevant installation events.

Speaking of SMA-relevant stakeholders, we also should not overlook the opportunity to submit proposals for public policy forums. These address critical issues in a way that demonstrates the value of anthropological knowledge or expertise. Panelists can include non-anthropologists and, ideally, at least one policymaker will be included.

While flash, installation, and policy forum sessions all must be proposed by April 14, in late summer or early fall, the AAA will issue a call for proposals for late breaking sessions. This new mechanism enables the inclusion of sessions that are directly responsive to current events—many of which cannot be predicted in April.

For more information regarding these unique session types, click here. To determine the types of roles these new formats follow and the AAA Annual Meeting participation limits, click here. Please also feel free to contact any board member, Special Interest Group (SIG) leader, or the SMA program committee (see below) to discuss ideas.
Sustaining SMA: A Message from the Treasurer
By Alexander Roedlach

It takes money for the SMA to serve as a supportive and collegial community that has a strong presence and voice within anthropology and academia as well as an impact on society. Financial resources support our flagship publication (Medical Anthropology Quarterly), help us to recognize and nurture outstanding achievements among members through a wide range of awards, allow us to encourage Special Interest Groups, enable our virtual presence through a Website, and foster our participation in the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association.
Membership dues have, historically, provided most of the resources that we have needed. However, rates for dues have not kept up with increasing costs, and so the SMA Board is encouraging all of us who can to become "sustaining members." The slightly higher dues of sustaining members are making a difference in our ability to have an impact, not only for members but as the major voice of medical anthropology today, nationally and internationally. Plus, you'll receive a red ribbon to wear on your AAA conference badge.
How can you gain Sustaining Member status? When you renew your membership via the AAA website, and you check the box for the SMA section, just choose the Sustaining Membership option. As one SMA member said recently about choosing Sustaining Membership:
"I decided to become a Sustaining Member some years ago to help boost our society’s ability to support medical anthropology students with travel awards and paper prizes. You can enhance the intangible pleasures of teaching that many of us experience on a daily basis by knowing that, as a Sustaining Member, more students—our future colleagues—will be encouraged to submit papers and abstracts and to embrace the SMA."
—Arachu Castro, SMA President Elect
Another way to help is to make a donation to the SMA General Fund and/or the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize Endowment. Donations can be made via the SMA's homepage. If you prefer to send a check, you can also do so. Please write as payee "AAA - Society for Medical Anthropology: General Fund" and send it to:
Alexander Roedlach SVD PhD
Department of Cultural and Social Studies
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 67178
Finally, the SMA Board encourages you to consider using your skills and expertise to organize and offer a workshop sponsored by the SMA at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the AAA. If you do so, you not only help your colleagues to develop certain skills; the SMA also receives a percentage of the revenue of workshops sponsored by the SMA. Click here for information on how to organize a workshop or contact me at  
Click Here to Donate to SMA
New Website Design and Launch of Second Spear for MAQ
Medical Anthropology Quarterly (MAQ) launched a new Website design late last year. If you haven’t already, take a peek at the new layout. You can also read the letter from the new editor of MAQ, Vincanne Adams. In addition to the journal articles, the “Current Issue” section of the MAQ Website offers public access to abstracts and photos for each peer reviewed essay, along with supplementary materials provided by authors (photo essays, interviews, media links, etc.). The MAQ Website also has two blog streams, Critical Care (for short outward focused essays), and newly launched, Second Spear (for longer inward-focused collections). SMA members interested in submitting posts for these blogs can contact Theresa MacPhail at
SMA Welcomes New Board Members

SMA members elected five new Executive Board Members last year. Arachu Castro is our new President Elect, Clara Han is our new Secretary, Andrea Whittaker and Junko Kitanaka represent the two at-large seats, and Carlyn Egesa represents the student board seat.

Arachu Castro, PhD, MPH, is the Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America and Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
. Her major interests are how social inequalities are embodied as differential risk for pathologies common among the poor and how health policies may alter the course of epidemic disease and other pathologies afflicting populations living in poverty. 

Clara Han is a faculty member of the Critical Global Health seminar series, an interdisciplinary seminar between Anthropology, History, History of Medicine at the School of Medicine; International Health and Health, Behavior and Society at the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She also has an appointment at the School of Public Health in the Dept. of Health, Behavior, and Society.

Junko Kitanaka is a professor of anthropology in the Department of Human Sciences at Keio University, Tokyo. She was born and educated in Japan before obtaining an MA at the University of Chicago and PhD at McGill University under Margaret Lock and Allan Young. She has been conducting research on psychiatry for 18 years, collaborating globally with doctors and anthropologists, teaching in Japan and advising graduate students from the U.S. and Europe, while helping organize international conferences including the 2015 World Congress of Asian Psychiatry.

Andrea Whittaker is an ARC Future Fellow, Professor and Convenor of Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and heads the Monash Health and Biofutures Focus Program. She works primarily in SE Asia in the fields of reproductive health and biotechnologies, with previous projects on reproductive health, abortion, infertility and assisted reproduction. Her current research projects include the study of global medical trade and mobility, reproductive travel and biotechnologies in the Asia Pacific, and social isolation and aging among HIV positive people in Queensland.

Carlyn Egesa is a PhD candidate in Medical Anthropology at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam. She holds a Masters of Science degree in social science from the University of Southampton, UK and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She has over ten years of research experience working in various capacities in sexual reproductive health and rights in Kenya.

Outgoing Executive Board Members were Linda Garro, Athena MacLean, James Pfeiffer, Jonathan Stillo, and Janelle Taylor. SMA thanks them for their leadership and service!
Society for Applied Anthropology 2017 Annual Meeting
SMA holds a meeting with the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) every other year, in even years. This year is an 'off' year. Nonetheless, many SMA members will attend the SfAA Meeting, held this year in Santa Fe, New Mexico from March 28 to April 1. SMA won't have a formal business or community meeting, but there are still some events of note:
President Elect Arachu Castro will host a meet-up on Thursday, March 30th at 7:45 pm in La Fiesta Lounge Bar at the La Fonda on the Plaza. For further information, email Arachu at

The Dying and Bereavement Special Interest Group will host two panels at the conference this year. "Dying, End of Life Care, Death: Anthropological Perspectives, Part 1" will be held on Wednesday, March 29 at 3:30 in Rivera (Drury), and Part 2 will be held in the same location at 5:30. In addition, the Dying and Bereavement SIG Business Meeting will take place on Saturday, April 1 from 12-1:20 pm in the Boardroom at the Drury Plaza Hotel. The SIG encourages individuals who are interested in this area of research to come and meet them and share your interests at the Business Meeting.

Another SMA subgroup, active in promoting the March for Science and healthcare issues in the United States, is planning to meet on Friday, March 31st from 5:30-6:50 pm at the Boardroom at the Drury Plaza Hotel. For more information, contact Patricia Urdzik or look for announcements from the group’s Facebook page.
And remember, it's not too early to start thinking about 2018, when we meet again formally with our partners at SfAA. If you are interested in helping with the SMA-SfAA program, please contact Arachu Castro or EJ Sobo.  
Book Announcements

Barney, K.F. and Perkinson, M.A., eds. Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults: Promoting Qualify of Life through Collaborative Practice (Elsevier, 2016)
Brownstein, Janet. Preterm Birth in the United States: A Sociocultural Approach (Springer Publications, 2016)
Brunson, Jan. Planning Families in Nepal: Global and Local Projects of Reproduction (Rutgers University Press, 2016)
Buchbinder, Mara and Michele Rivkin-Fish, and Rebecca Walker. Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice: New Conversations Across the Disciplines (UNC Press, 2016)
Cosminsky, Sheila. Midwives and Mothers: The Medicalization of Childbirth on a Guatemalan Plantation (University of Texas Press, 2016)
Deomampo, Daisy. Transnational Reproduction: Race, Kinship, and Commercial Surrogacy in India (NYU Press, 2016)
Feldman-Savelsberg, Pamela. Mothers on the Move: Reproducing Belonging between Africa and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2016)
Freidenberg, Judith. Contemporary Conversations on Immigration in the United States: The View from Prince George’s County, Maryland (Lexington Books, 2016)
Hay-Rollins, Cameron. Methods that Matter: Integrating Mixed Methods for More Effective Social Science Research (University of Chicago Press, 2016)
Maes, Kenneth. The Lives of Community Health Workers: Local Labor and Global Health in Urban Ethiopia (Routledge, 2016)
Morrissey, Suzanne. Life Strategies: Motherhood, Poverty, and the WIC Program in Urban America (Roman & Littlefield, 2016)
Ostrach, Bayla. Health Policy in a Time of Crisis: Abortion, Austerity, and Access (Routledge, 2017)
Singer, Merrill. A Companion to the Anthropology of Environmental Health (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
Tomori, Cecilia. Nighttime Breastfeeding: An American Cultural Dilemma (Berghahn Books, 2016)
Wilkinson, Iain and Arthur Kleinman. A Passion for Society: How We Think about Human Suffering (University of California Press, 2016)
SMA Member Milestones

A new Series of papers on Syndemics was published in the The Lancet on March 2. Led by medical anthropologist Emily Mendenhall (Georgetown University), the Series introduces syndemics, a field of applied health research with roots in medical anthropology, to the British medical journal’s audience of clinicians and health researchers. The series "explains important contrasts with conventional approaches to public health and health-care delivery based on the concept of multimorbidity, and explores how syndemics can be used to tackle health inequities.” The lead authors for contributions to the series include Merrill Singer (University of Connecticut), Emily Mendenhall (Georgetown), Sarah Willen (University of Connecticut), and Alex Tsai (Harvard). Click here to read the full set of papers and to listen to a podcast about syndemics with Emily Mendenhall.

SMA Members: Do you have milestones (jobs, awards, etc.) you want to share in the next issue of Second Opinion? Submit them to SMA Digital Communications Manager Saira Mehmood.
SMA Executive Board
Elisa (EJ) Sobo, President,
Arachu Castro, President Elect,
Clara Han, Secretary,
Alexander Roedlach, Treasurer,
Mary Anglin,
Carlyn Egesa, MASA Liaison, 
Erin Finley,
Junko Kitanaka,
John (Juan) Luque,
Eileen Moyer, 
Lesley Sharp,
Andrea Whittaker,
Cathleen (Catie) Willging,
Ex-Officio Members & Staff
Vincanne Adams, MAQ Editor,
Sean Bruna, Web Editor,
Megan A. Carney, Anthropology News Contributing Editor,
Stephanie Cruz, Listserv Moderator,
Saira Mehmood, Digital Communications Manager,
Cassandra Wilson, Administrative Assistant,
Have comments, questions, or ideas?
Please contact SMA's Digital Communications Manager, Saira A. Mehmood.
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