PhD Sociocultural Anthropology, UCLA 2011
MA Anthropology, UCLA 2008
MPH Community Health Sciences, UCLA 2004
MA Latin American Studies, UCLA 2004
My research agenda is centered around the social determinants of health and wellbeing and the cultural shaping of illness and distress in different global locations. An initial major research project explores the impacts of parent outmigration for Nicaraguan families; particularly, this work examines the role of grandmothers as caregivers in transnational families. In a forthcoming book, Care Across Generations: Solidarity and Sacrifice in Transnational Families (Stanford University Press, 2017), I show how intergenerational caregiving not only reflects gendered and political-economic constraints but also generates strong emotional ties and sources of cultural resilience for families in the face of the disruption of transnational migration. The book argues for an intergenerational approach to transnational migration and family life that reveals the importance of care across generations and over time. Additionally, several journal articles and chapters in edited volumes have emerged from this research, including pieces examining grandmothers' emotional distress, children's experiences of mother migration, mixed-methods research in global mental health, and the importance of narratives in shaping intergenerational responses to migration within transnational families. In a second major, ongoing research project, funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, I am working with colleagues at the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa and the University of South Florida to study the impacts of transit migration through Mexico on the state, civil society, and local communities. A third interdisciplinary research collaboration in Mexico examines the relationships between psychiatry, culture and care in shaping the illness experiences of people living with schizophrenia and other major mental health challenges. This work emerges out of my involvment as a Faculty Mentor with the Latino Mental Health Research Training Program (http://dornsife.usc.edu/latino-mental-health).
Areas of Interest: Global health, global mental health, medical & psychological anthropology, gender, migration & transnational family life, intergenerational caregiving, migrant and refugee health, humanitarianism and care, social and cultural determinants of health, narratives and idioms of distress; Nicaragua, México, Latin America.
INTL 340 Global Health & Development
INTL 463/563 Population Displacement & Global Health
INTL 465/565 Global Reproductive Health
INTL 410/510 Global Mental Health
INTL 410/510 Transnational Migration
CHC (Wi 2014) Suffering, Violence & Healing: Critical and Cross-Cultural Perspectives
My teaching broadly addresses the political-economic and social-cultural determinants of health and the relationship between population health and (uneven) development processes in contemporary global contexts. Whether in large lectures or smaller seminar courses, my aim as a teacher is to have my students engage critically with social theory and with contemporary case studies in global health, mental health and health disparities. My students have conducted research on reproductive health in Nicaragua, explanatory models of diabetes in Mexico, host mothers in student exchange programs in Costa Rica, undocumented university students in the U.S., and trafficking of domestic workers in Malaysia; for their research, they have won awards from the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, and the Department of Anthropology, among other recognitions. They have gone on to apply to graduate programs in public health and social medicine, academic programs in medical anthropology and cross-cultural psychology, and onto careers in academia, as well as professional positions in international development, global health, and local community service.