CAGH Newsletter

Dear CAGH Members –

On the heels of our meeting in San Jose, we wanted to send several important updates regarding leadership, this year’s initiatives, and Virchow Award winners. Thanks to those who joined us in person at the meetings. If you were not there and wish to remain involved in this year’s initiatives, please see below for further information.


Outgoing / Incoming Leadership:

First, we want to give thanks to Sara Lewis and Peter Brown, who served as co-chairs of CAGH over the past three years and led a number of important initiatives. We are so thankful to them for their leadership. We (Amy Dao and Nora Kenworthy) will be taking over the reins as co-chairs this year. Please be in touch with us about any CAGH-related business (;


Upcoming CAGH Initiatives:

Each year, CAGH solicits information from members about topical initiatives they would like to lead. Oftentimes, these become ‘Take a Stand’ initiatives, and eventually, written pieces or collections. For information on past Take a Stand statements, see: CAGH members who are interested in initiating or leading a Take a Stand initiative for the coming year should email Amylm.dao@gmail.comor njk8@uw.eduwith ideas. We can talk you through the process and connect you with other faculty who may be interested in working on similar topics.


There was also some discussion at the meeting this year of putting teaching materials and current bibliographic materials on the CAGH website to share with other scholars. As this work moves forward we will send further updates. Anyone interested in contributing to this effort should reach out to us via email.


Virchow Award Winners:

Each year, the Rudolf Virchow Awards are given by CAGH for individuals at three stages of their careers as medical anthropologists: undergraduate students, graduate students, and professionals. In keeping with Virchow’s legacy, the award is given to work that combine a critical anthropology focus with rich ethnographic data, and best reflect, extend or advance critical perspectives on medical anthropology and global public health. This year’s Virchow Award submissions were particularly numerous and outstanding, demonstrating the many remarkable projects anthropologists are carrying out in critical global health. We are thankful to the award committee of Emily Mendenhall, Lauren Carruth, and Nora Kenworthy and to additional reviewer Laura Meeks for their considerable efforts in reviewing the many submissions.


While this year’s Virchow Award winners were announced briefly at the SMA meetings, we wanted to also highlight their work here. They are:


Undergraduate Award – Sabine Shaughnessy, for her paper “Reproductive Rationalities and Realities of Havana, Cuba during the Post-Fidel Transition.” This paper beautifully wove together ethnographic imagery and theory with topics of vital importance to medical anthropology, and more specifically, reproductive and sexual health.


Graduate Award – Raphael Frankfurter, for his paper “Conjuring Biosecurity in the Post-Ebola Kissi Triangle: The Magic of Paperwork in a Frontier Clinic.” This paper demonstrated a deep engagement with individuals, their stories, and their concerns about healthcare and medicine in a place where these aspects of medicine were often lost – and offers important and vital lessons about contemporary global health practices.


The Professional award was given to two papers in this year’s highly competitive category:

Elizabeth Roberts, for her paper, “What gets inside: Violent Entanglements and Toxic Boundaries in Mexico City” (Cultural Anthropology). This piece significantly advances the fields of anthropology, global health, and science and technology studies by considering the entanglements of everyday life, health, and toxicity in Mexico City. Her ethnographic prose was particularly striking, encouraging readers to think anew about biology, toxins, the environment, agency, and embodied inequities. This was extraordinary work, in both its intelligence and clarity in considering an understudied domain of global health.


Thurka Sangaramoorthy, for her paper “Putting Band-aids on Things that Need Stitches: Immigration and the Landscape of Care in Rural America” (American Anthropologist). This paper was especially striking in its demonstration of what it means to do exemplary global health and social justice scholarship in the US. Her use of ethnography to shed light on the meanings and functions of “band-aids” offers an essential conceptual tool for future medical anthropology, and for understanding the healthcare of underserved populations in the US. This paper was novel as well for its engagement with multiple communities of immigrants and providers who nonetheless intersect within the gaps and inadequacies of the US healthcare system.


Congratulations to all of the award winners!

We are currently seeking volunteers to serve as reviewers for this year’s upcoming Virchow Awards review committee. The commitment is relatively short and involves reading papers such as these and many other fine submissions. Please email Amylm.dao@gmail.comor njk8@uw.eduif you are interested in reviewing for any of these categories of papers. Junior or student scholars are welcome!


A call for the 2019 Virchow Awards will go out in the spring. Please keep encouraging undergraduate and graduate students to submit their work.


Thanks to all of you, and looking forward to working with you in the year ahead –


Amy Dao & Nora Kenworthy

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