CAGH Business Meeting Minutes, AAA 2020

CAGH Meeting Minutes

Nov. 13, 2020


  1. Introductions – 27 in attendance
  2. Book announcements
    1. Emily, Svea, Peter – Policy to Practice Book Series (
      1. For the Public Good – Patricia Antoniello
    2. Adrienne Strong –
    3. Anthropologies of Global Maternal and Reproductive Health: From Policy Spaces to Sites of Practice edited by Lauren Wallace, Katerini Storeng and Margaret MacDonald. Springer. My chapter is Regulating midwives: Foreclosing alternatives in the policy making process in West Java, Indonesia by Priscilla Magrath

    4. Meredith Marten – I’ve also got a chapter in the ‘Anthropologies of Global Maternal and Reproductive Health’ book Priscilla mentioned, it’s called “The ‘Sustainability Doctrine’ in donor-driven maternal health programs in Tanzania” 
    5. Svea Closser and Peter Brown’s Foundations of Global Health is widely used – request a desk copy! ( Here is the link for the videos — covid related discussions  between Svea and me.  short videos – aimed at students
    6. Ryan Whitacre – Kippax, Aggleton, Parker, eds. Remaking HIV Prevention: The Promise of TasP, U=U and PrEP. Lots of chapters. One by me!
    7. Sara L.M. Davis-The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health (Cambridge U P 2020) 
  3. Job announcements
    1. Associate Professor in Public Health, Tenure Track – University of Connecticut –
    2. Peter Brown – look for job openings in Emory for the next 3 years
    3. In memory of Sam Dubal –
    4. Samantha Solimeo ( VA is hiring phd level anthropologist


  1. Virchow award announcements
    1. Committee Members: Michelle Parsons, Jennifer Carroll, Ashish Premkumar, Nora Kenworthy
    2. Chris Magana  (UCSD, undergraduate)– “Beyond Family Separation: The (Anti)Politics of Care and Pathways of Resistance within U.S. Immigration Detention”
    3. “This paper offers a stunning and particularly timely look at contemporary US immigration policies. With a laser-sharp analysis of policy documents, public statements, and investigative reports, Mr. Magana brings into stark relief the hypocrisy of moral outrage over family separations that places children in detention at the apex of a “hierarchy of suffering” that “delegitimizes the overtly political suffering—and agency—of people in immigration detention engaged in hunger strikes.” These questions of whose suffering matters—and is recognized—become all the more important as Magana examines the response to COVID-19 within detention facilities and resistance efforts among detainees. Written at a particularly uncertain time for detained immigrants and for in-person fieldwork, this paper offers a remarkable example of how anthropologies of policy and politics can tackle tough subjects intimately, humanely, but from a (physical) distance.”
    4. Emily Vasquez  (Columbia U, graduate)– “Detecting diabetes risk: Philanthropy, technology, and epistemic power in Mexico” “In a tightly crafted ethnographic analysis of public-private partnerships for public health in Mexico, this paper shows how the philanthropic activities of the financial elite can alter the scientific landscape of health. Rather than adopting the holistic approach to health endorsed by a public health approach, private foundations set up to distribute the financial largess of contemporary oligarchs—in this case the Carlos Slim Foundation—succeed in shifting biomedical inquiry away from structural drivers of health disparities and onto the microbiology of non-communicable disease, seeking to discover and leverage genetic testing strategies and metabolic biomarkers to build a public health system that privileges the individual—rather than the social and capitalist forces at play around that individual—as a site if illness. This paper paints a stark picture of what happens to public health when vital research funding is controlled by private interests—subverted from public coffers through lucrative tax laws and exempt from public accountability as it is spent. For elite philanthropists, this is a double win: their public reputation is improved through their charitable work and the broader public health agenda is drawn away from the structural features of the capitalist system that both produce health inequity and enable the financial success of the Foundation’s primary namesakes. Ironically, therefore, public health is made remarkably poorer by the injections of cash from these foundations, as necessary work in public health science is often left “undone” when private capital drives the agenda.”
    5. Talia Weiner (University of W. Georgia, professional) – “Billable services and the ‘therapeutic fee’: On the work of disavowal of political economy and its re-emergence in clinical practice” “Dr. Weiner has captured a unique and innovative perspective: that of the role of transaction and capital within psychotherapy in the United States. Her meditation on the structure of exchange and the structuring of clinical therapy has important implications for how we, in critical medical anthropology, consider examining the experience of treatment – both from a phenomenological and a political economy perspective. Reviewers felt that this piece hailed from the best traditions of anthropological writing, describing it as “classic” in that it used a minute detail to deftly describe wider consequences of healthcare restructuring, governmental retrenchment, and, importantly, the economy of care. The work has crucial implications for how we think about repair, recovery, and the state of treatment of mental health not only in the United States, but also globally given the increased awareness and use of mental health professionals in a variety of clinical settings. This piece truly embodies the spirit of Rudolf Virchow by connecting social theory and critical public health in a nuanced and crucial way.”
  2. Potential Committee members for next year – Emily Mendenhall, Lauren Carruth, Lesley Jo Weaver, Emily Vasquez, Meredith Martin


  1. Health Citizenship Pledge – voting for CAGH to support Mark Nichter’s initiative ( – passed
    1.– how to support healthcare workers during COVID-19
    3. Citizen as a verb, not a noun
  2. The Pandemic Journaling Project – Sarah Willen
    1. The Pandemic Journaling Project / Proyecto Diarios de la Pandemic
    2. You and your students are cordially invited to check out the Pandemic Journaling Project, a combined digital journaling platform and research study that allows anyone, anywhere around the world (18 or over) to create a journal about their experience of COVID19 — in English or Spanish, and in  writing, recorded audio, or photos — with only a smartphone or other device, and in only ~15 min/week. Weekly email (or text) reminders invite participants to contribute each week. Participants can securely download their Journal at any time, and those who wish can share entries publicly on the project’s Featured Entries page. Educators may also want check out the Project’s Educator Resource page. The Pandemic Journaling Project was created by critical medical anthropologists, in partnership with an interdisciplinary advisory board of faculty and students. (Folks can learn more by visiting the website or reading this recent piece led by 2 student advisory board members.) 
    3. Project overview:
    4. 1. Pandemic Journaling Project:
    5. 2. Featured Entries:
    6. 3. Educator Resources:
    7. 4. “How to Decolonize Future Histories of COVID-19, Starting Now”:  [student-led blog essay]

  3. Are CAGH members participating in any COVID19 related projects?
  4. Future initiatives for CAGH/ Take A Stand ideas? 
    1. James Pfeiffer – TAS on debt relief during covid
      3. Affecting health systems and ability to get PPE / PPE patchwork
      4. Food security issues too
      5. Cross-border movements and vulnerabilities (economic, epidemiological)
      6. Possibly connect this to the NGO Code of Conduct – new COVID code of conduct? 
    2. Rachel Chapman – IPV 
    3. COVID as a syndemic alongside and within systemic racism (Lance Gravlee has been doing excellent public writing on this) 
    4. Possible to use Mark Nichter’s HCW narratives project to feature narratives from HCWs across the world and highlight infrastructure issues they are facing. 
    5. Possible meeting with AHRE to discuss emerging issues in responding to COVID-19 globally