Medical anthropology research

Medical anthropology is a multidisciplinary field of research that explores the intersections between culture, society and health. This branch of anthropology focuses on understanding how cultural beliefs, practices and social structures shape individuals' experiences of illness, wellness and healthcare. Researchers in medical anthropology investigate a wide range of topics, including traditional healing practices, the impact of social inequalities on health outcomes, cross-cultural perspectives on illness and healing, and the dynamics of healthcare systems. By examining the cultural context of health and medicine, medical anthropologists contribute valuable insights to both academic understanding and practical approaches to healthcare, shedding light on the complex interplay between cultural factors and the effectiveness of health interventions. 

Current research

Project Professor
"Disparities in COVID Health Care Programs For Older Adults And Their Caregivers." U.S. Dept HHS, United Way / Michigan Dept of Health & Dept of Human Services Coronavirus Task Force On Racial Disparities. WSU/United Way/COVID313, program project. Luborsky, project "COVID-19 Building Trust and Knowledge, Avoiding Scams on Testing, Contact tracing, and Vaccination. 2020-2021 Mark Luborsky
"Frontline Workers on the Job During the Pandemic: COVID-19 Insights to Design Strategies To Promote Testing, Vaccination, and Safe Habits," Funded by Ford Motor Company and United Auto Workers. PI: Luborsky 2020-2021 Mark Luborsky
"Worker Driven Designs: Worker-Circles to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy by Promoting Moral Communities," Funded by Ford Motor Company and United Auto Workers. PI: Luborsky. 2021 Mark Luborsky
"Narrative Resources In Co-Creation Of Care For Frail Older Persons. Advancing Programs For Person-Centered Care For Old People Living With Frailty." FORTE Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. Dual-PI: Josephsson and Luborsky. WSU, Gothenburg University, Karolinska Institutet, Umeå University. 2019-2021 Mark Luborsky
Histories and Lifespans of Later Life Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation: Providers and Clients. Results will be presented as invited Keynote to World Congress on Rehabilitation. Aarhus, Denmark, Sept 2021 Mark Luborsky
Gardens of Memory: Aging and Sociality in Urban Contexts Jessica Robbins
Remembering, Forgetting, and the Intimate Politics of Memory in Dementia Jessica Robbins
Beyond East/West: Producing Knowledge on Aging in Central Europe Jessica Robbins
Sankar, A. and Luborsky, M. COVID-19 Mitigation and Trust URP: Ford Motor Company and Wayne State. Andrea Sankar
Dying at Home: A Guide for Family Caregivers Andrea Sankar
Combating Tuberculosis in Romania Jonathan Stillo
Human Rights, and Patient-Centered Tuberculosis Care Jonathan Stillo

Select recent research projects

Project Professor
"The Sciences and Anthropology Of Diversity In Ageing, Retirement, And End Of Life." National Geographic Channel documentary series. Mark Luborsky
"Engaging Neighborhood, Gender, and Personal Beliefs and Practices to Reduce Risk for Chronic Disease Among Immigrant Women." FORTE Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. Co-Inv: Luborsky. Mark Luborsky
"COVID313 Virtual Townhall: Racial Disparities & COVID-19 - Are Researchers Ready?" Sessions hosted on Detroit TV and Online live. A coalition of: COVID 313 Community Coalition for Families and Youth; WSU Provost's Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health Steering Committee, Karmanos Institute, WSU School of Medicine. Co-organizer: Luborsky. Mark Luborsky
"Mixed Methods Research Training for the Health Sciences, Research, and Practice." Harvard University / Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 2015 to 2023. NIH/NIMH. Co-investigator: Luborsky Mark Luborsky
"Improving Community Awareness for Detroit River Fish Advisories: Community Intervention and Evaluation." Erb Family Foundation. Kashian, PI, Luborsky Co-PI. 2012-2015 Mark Luborsky
"Biomonitoring of Persistent Toxic Substances in Michigan Urban Fish Eaters." CDC/ATSDR, and Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology. PI: Linda D. Dykema, MDCM, WSU Co-PI. Luborsky. 2012-2014 Mark Luborsky
Aging Nationally in Contemporary Poland Jessica Robbins
Gardening and Wellbeing among Older African Americans in Detroit Jessica Robbins
Older Adults' Experiences and Understandings of the Flint Water Crisis Jessica Robbins
2018. PI. Jung, Y. Co-PI. Sankar, A. "Safety Shield: Qualitative Study on Driver Evaluation of Automotive Safety Technology," Nissan-Hearst. $48,595. Andrea Sankar
2017. PI. Sankar, A. Co-PI. Yuson Jung. "Virtual Passenger Beta Test & Qualitative Study of User Experience," Chevrolet Motors, $99,488. Andrea Sankar
2012-2014. Co-PI. Erb Foundation, Improving community awareness for Detroit River fish consumption advisories, $95,000. Andrea Sankar
2011-2013. PI Bio-Monitoring of Persistent Toxic Substances in Michigan Urban Fish Eaters: Venue Based Sampling Michigan Department of Community Health, $202,500. Andrea Sankar
2006-2009. PI Rwanda-Prevention for Positives: Intervention-linked Research Targeting HIV-infected People USAID, $97,000. Andrea Sankar


Core faculty

Learn more about studying medical anthropology