My scholarship examines medical systems as sites of political struggle and transformation. As a cultural and medical anthropologist I use qualitative research methods such as ethnography to understand the power dynamics of medical encounters, cultural constructions of health and illness, mental health and psychiatric practice, homelessness, aging, and medical activism. For the past fifteen years, I have conducted ethnographic research on the meaning of health and health care in urban Venezuela, Cuba, and the United States.
My first book State of Health: Pleasure and Politics in Venezuelan Health Care under Chávez is available from the University of California Press and mainstream booksellers.
My second book project examines how biomedicine’s colonial legacy has systemically limited efforts to promote health and develops evidence-based alternatives to conceptualizing health that expand biomedical paradigms.
I am an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Saint Louis University, where I have been honored with a Faculty Excellence Award (2019) and named a Spirit of the Billiken Mentor (2020).