I am an assistant professor of medical anthropology at Baylor University with an MPH in epidemiology. My research incorporates approaches from cultural and biological anthropology as well as public health and epidemiology. The central question I try to address in my work is why chronic stress tracks along the fault lines of social inequity among rapidly globalizing populations. Other interests include political economy, sociocultural epidemiology, biomarker measurement, integrative and cross-disciplinary research and Latin America.
My dissertation research project Culture, Change and Chronic Stress in Lowland Bolivia is based on 25 months of in-country research that began with over a year of ethnographic field work and culminated in an eight-village epidemiologic survey (N=209). With funding from the National Science Foundation I carried out research in lowland Bolivia (June 2011—July 2013) among a group of forager-farmers, the Tsimane’. The Tsimane’ are unique for their extraordinary cardiovascular health and extremely low levels of short-term cortisol despite 20+ years of increasingly rapid integration to the local market economy. I focused my ethnography on understandings of life’s struggles, rapid change and differences between individuals, families and groups. The survey incorporates explicit measures of culture (i.e. consonance in life priorities and social support), a retrospective stress biomarker (hair cortisol), and local measures of ontology among 200+ total variables. I also help maintain the anthropology blog, AnthroHacker.com. My dissertation was supervised by Clarence C. Gravlee. You can read more about my work on my academic page, schedule an appointment, or get in touch via my contact page.