Virchow Award

**2017 Rudolf Virchow Awards are now open for submission
(deadline: August 15, 2017)

Rudolf Virchow, a 19th century German physician and anthropologist, was a key founder of social medicine. His contributions centered on his recognition that multiple intersecting factors – social, political, and economic – produce disease and illness.  He argued that the circumstances and deprivations of poverty increase people’s susceptibility to disease and result in reduced life expectancy and quality of life.  He eloquently articulated the limits of medicine in the absence of material security, a sentiment which informed his view that nation-states play an important role in ensuring health security for a citizenry.  Virchow viewed advocacy as an essential part of health praxis, and, in keeping with this legacy, the Critical Anthropology for Global Health (CAGH) Special Interest Group honors Virchow’s work with three awards.

The annual Rudolf Virchow Awards are given by the Critical Anthropology for Global Health Caucus, a special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology.  Each year there are three awards for individuals at different stages in their careers as medical anthropologists: (1) the Professional Award honors a recent published article in a professional journal;  (2) the Graduate Student Award honors a paper that was written between 2016 and 2017 and has not yet been submitted to a journal; (3) the Undergraduate Student Award honors a paper written during a student’s undergraduate career and has not been published. There are prizes of $150 prize for each student winner.


Winning submissions combine a critical anthropology focus with rich ethnographic data, and best reflect, extend, and/or advance critical perspectives in medical anthropological questions in the general area of global public health. All winners will be honored at the SMA business meeting at the American Anthropological Association meetings.


The submission deadline for the 2017 Rudolf Virchow Awards is August 15, 2017.

We encourage you to submit your own work and/or to nominate papers of your students or articles of colleagues.  If you wish to submit a paper for consideration, please e-mail the paper and a cover letter of introduction to the Virchow Awards Chair, Professor Peter Brown, at by August 15, 2017.  Hard copies are no longer accepted.  Confirmation of receipt will be sent.  To ensure a prompt and fair review, papers will not be accepted after the August 15, 2017 12 pm PST deadline.  Winners will be contacted by November 1, 2017.

Professional Award Category

The professional award will be awarded for an article or chapter published during 2016 or 2017 in a peer-reviewed journal (print or online) or peer-reviewed edited volume.  Articles may be singly- or co-authored. Technical reports and other contracted works are not considered for this award.