Three SMA Awards (Dissertation, Mentor, Travel)

SMA Dissertation Award
Deadline: July 1 (Extended to July 15th)

In 2006, the Society for Medical Anthropology inaugurated the Medical Anthropology Students Association (MASA) to recognize and serve student members of the society. Students make up one-third of SMA’s membership and represent the future of the field. One way for SMA to honor its student members is through inauguration of an award recognizing the excellence of a recently completed doctoral dissertation. To that end, the SMA Executive Board has established the SMA Dissertation Award (formerly called the “MASA Dissertation Award”), created to recognize an outstanding dissertation in the field of medical anthropology, broadly defined.

On a biennial basis (every odd year) the SMA Dissertation Award is given to the author of a dissertation which is judged to be a significant and potentially influential contribution to medical anthropology. Dissertations are judged on the basis of: (1) scope and excellence of scholarship, including ethnographic research; (2) originality of subject matter; (3) effectiveness and persuasiveness of arguments; and (4) writing quality. Dissertation research of exceptional courage and difficulty is given special consideration. For details, contact Becky Read-Wahidi (

The SMA Dissertation Award will be publicly announced during the SMA awards ceremony, held during the annual AAA meeting. The winner will receive a $500 cash award and a plaque.

The SMA Dissertation Award Committee strongly encourages submission of nominations for the competition. Submissions must be dissertations approved, accepted, and filed as the final version with the candidate’s university within nomination deadline period. For the current nomination period, dissertations submitted to the university between the period of July 1, 2011 – July 1, 2013 will be considered. The candidate’s dissertation advisor should attest that this is the copy submitted. Candidates should specify any of dissertation committee members who they feel should not to be included as a reviewer (e.g. they are your advisor; you have a working relationship that would prevent objectivity, etc.).

Submissions: Students planning on (or interested in) submitting their work should review the dissertation page for complete details regarding the submission process. You must send a PDF of your dissertation to the Committee Chair, Becky Read-Wahidi, on or before the final date.

Letters of Nomination: Candidates for the award need not have received their PhD degrees in a department of anthropology, nor in a North American university. However, letters of nomination must state why the dissertation contributes to the field of medical anthropology. Two letters of nomination, one from the candidate’s dissertation advisor and one from a dissertation committee member, should be sent electronically to each of the SMA Dissertation Award Committee members.

For details, contact Becky Read-Wahidi (, SMA Dissertation Award Committee Chair.
2013 MASA Graduate Student Mentor Award
Deadline: August 1, 2013

Purpose: This award recognizes excellence in graduate student mentorship, and is aimed at senior or mid-career scholars who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to teaching and mentorship throughout their careers, particularly those who have taken the time to successfully guide their MA and PhD students through field work and the thesis or dissertation writing process. Previous recipients of the MASA Graduate Student Mentor Award are Peter Brown (2012), Frances Barg (2011), Mary-Jo DelVecchio-Good and Byron J. Good (2010), Carole Browner (2009), Joe Dumit (2008), Lenore Manderson (2007) and Mac Marshall (2006).

For whom and for what: This award is aimed at senior or mid-career scholars who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to teaching and mentorship throughout their careers, particularly those who have taken the time to thoughtfully and successfully guide their MA and PhD students through their field work experience and the thesis/ dissertation writing process.

Attributes to Consider:
– Communicates clearly and supportively with students and offers consistent, positive guidance; provides timely and productive feedback on written work
– Creates a friendly, encouraging and academically challenging environment; makes an effort to teach medical anthropology in innovative and effective ways
– Encourages students to submit abstracts of their own at conferences, write and submit their own work to journals, teach well and value teaching and begin to function on their own in those public arenas that include medical anthropology
– Has a good track record of retaining students: remaining on committees, retaining advisees, and actually graduating a good proportion of their advisees
– Inspires students to pursue their own research, teaching and advocacy goals in medical anthropology, despite the daunting nature of graduate school and the dissertation process
– Helps students connect with other professionals in their field outside of their own departments and helps familiarize them with the unwritten rules of their professional community
– Steps back and allows students to learn from their own mistakes; lets them step forward on their own and begin making their own decisions; lets them define and take appropriate risks

Nomination Procedures and Application Materials: A minimum of three letters of nomination to be submitted from current and/or former students outlining the ways in which the candidate has been a strong mentor, advisor and/or teacher. One additional letter may also be submitted by a junior colleague who has also been mentored by the candidate; however, this is not a requirement. Each letter should consider the above criteria and address any other attributes or practices that have led to supportive, successful mentoring. Nominations for the faculty mentor award will remain open for three years for consideration by the award committee.

Submissions: Nomination and support letters will be accepted until the deadline of August 1st. Please send all nomination letters to Mary Rebecca Read-Wahidi ( Award recipient will be honored during the SMA Business Meeting and Award Ceremony at the November AAA Meeting in Chicago.
SMA Student Travel Fellowships
2013 American Anthropological Association Meeting
Chicago, Illinois
November 20-24

Deadline September 4, 2013
The Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) is pleased to be able to offer its student members five student travel fellowships ($500 each) for travel to the 2013 AAA meeting in Chicago. Eligibility is restricted to student members of the SMA who are presenting a paper or poster at the meeting. Fellowships will be awarded based on the clarity, significance and innovation of their submitted abstract, and the strength of a letter of support from a faculty member who can discuss the significance of their presented work.

Eligibility Requirements (must meet all four):
(1) Submit proof of current student SMA student membership
(2) Submit proof of registration for the AAA conference
(3) Submit a copy of your AAA paper/poster abstract
(4) Submit a letter of recommendation from an advisor

Application Procedure:
Please compile all the supporting materials into ONE file and save in pdf format. Email materials and direct any inquiries to the SMA 2013 Student Travel Fellowship Committee at by September 4, 2013. Fellowship award winners will be notified by September 25, 2013. Awards will be formally announced, and checks will be presented, at the SMA business meeting in Chicago.

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Volunteer in Tarragona

To all MASA members who will be attending the SMA/EASA meeting in Tarragona, Spain in June:

The SMA/EASA Meeting Planning Committee needs student volunteers to work alongside stream leaders. This is a great chance to work with a senior medical anthropologist in your field! If you are interested, please contact Mary Read-Wahidi ( ASAP, and please specify your research area(s) of interest.



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Registraton Reminders: SMA/EASA Joint Conference, Tarragona Spain

Encounters and Engagements:

Creating New Agendas for Medical Anthropology

EASA Medical Anthropology Network/Society for Medical Anthropology/Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Joint International Conference, Tarragona, Spain

June 12-14th 2013


**This is a friendly reminder that the registration deadline for the joint EASA/SMA conference is quickly approaching:

Deadline for paper and poster abstract submission and registration- Friday, February 15th

Visit the conference website for registration and abstract submission:

**Arrive early to participate in additional events:

June 11th Workshops: There will be a full day of skills sharing and methods workshops for medical anthropologists.  A wide variety of topics will be covered including using video in research, GIS applications in spatial analysis, creating and broadcasting a radio show and much more… details will be posted soon on the conference website.

MAYS Student Conference: Students are encouraged to take part in the 4th annual MAYS (Medical Anthropology Young Scholars) conference on June 10-11th at the same venue. There is no fee to participate in this conference!

Deadline for abstract submission and registration- Friday, February 15th

For information about conference registration and submitting an abstract

 ***Travelling on a Budget? Take note of the following information:

SMA Student Travel Fellowships:  SMA is offering a number of travel grants for student SMA members who are (1) presenting papers or posters at EASA/SMA meeting, or (2) presenting at the MAYS meeting and attending the EASA/SMA meeting.

Application deadline: March 1st

For application requirements and other inquiries, contact:

 – Global Network Travel Awards: Wenner-Gren Foundation will fund a number of participants from developing contexts and/or parts of the world where a professional network or society of medical anthropologists has not yet formed or is only minimally developed.

Application deadline: March 1st

For application requirements and other inquiries,

EASA Student Travel Fellowships: Information coming soon

– Tarragona offers a number of accommodation and dining options at very reasonable price:

Residencia Universitaria Sant Jordi:

Casa Nostra, Residencia Familiar Tarragona:

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Encounters and Engagements: Creating New Agendas for Medical Anthropology

Encounters and Engagements: Creating New Agendas for Medical Anthropology

EASA Medical Anthropology Network / AAA Society for Medical Anthropology /

Universitat Rovira i Virgili Joint International Conference, Tarragona, Spain 

June 12-14th 2013

 Thematic focus

Encounters and engagements – it is hard to imagine anthropology of any sort without them, and they are central to the practices and concerns of medical anthropology in particular.  While ‘encounters’ suggests meetings and convergence, the question of when, where and on what terms an encounter takes place may raise issues of conflict, displacement and exclusion. 

The consultation of clients and health professionals, patients and healers, has been of central concern to medical anthropologists, yet the domain of medical anthropology extends well beyond the encounters that occur through healing work in health settings.  Encounters may involve the senses, feelings and emotions – desires, disappointments, pleasure and suffering  – or they may be dispassionate, cold and clinical.  Encounters can also involve quasi- or non-human agents – microbes, spirits, pharmaceuticals, medical technologies, experiments, governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations, weapons and words (amongst many others).  They may be real, virtual or imagined, active or passive.  And they may engender change of all sorts, leading to new identities, forms and trajectories.

By ‘engagements’, we recall the rich history of medical anthropologists’ engagement in change processes, in many different roles, in some cases collaborating with biomedical institutions to adapt their programs to social realities, in other cases engaging with recipients by giving voice to their concerns. Through such engagements with diverse actors, medical anthropologists have developed a host of new ways of doing research.  It is this positionality of the medical anthropologist, and this mode of interaction with other disciplines and actors, that makes our work unique and important.


A conference like no other…

This Joint International Conference is designed to foster intellectual encounters between engaged/applied and academic medical anthropologists from around the world.  The location and format of this pioneering conference will promote the exploration of convergences and divergences between theories, practices, schools and regions across the broader community of medical anthropology scholars and practitioners globally. The conference is being organized by the American Anthropological Association’s Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ (EASA) Medical Anthropology Network, and the Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Tarragona, Spain

Submitting abstracts:  The theme ‘encounters and engagements’ has been chosen not only for the theoretical focus it offers, but to reflect the organisers’ aspirations about what this unique conference will be like.  Hence, rather than soliciting pre-formed panels, or panel abstracts relating to particular topics or themes, the organisers are inviting all contributors to use the broad framework provided by the overarching ‘encounters and engagement’ theme as a basis for developing their 250 word (maximum) conference abstracts for a paper or poster. These should be based on original research and/or analysis – be it theoretical or empirical. The abstracts will form the basis for a more detailed program, which will be designed to generate cumulative and inclusive discussions in ten parallel thematic conference streams, each containing a number of panels.

Streams:  Abstracts will initially be considered by a Scientific Committee who will allocate them to one of ten emergent streams deriving from the content of the submissions.  Each stream will be led by a group of two scholars who will use them to identify and organize a series of five panels in their stream.  Stream leaders will write an initial thinkpiece which explains the debates they expect will take place in their stream (based on their review of abstracts), and will work with panelists on how to focus and refine their presentations (with the possibility of resubmitting abstracts, if appropriate).  Stream leaders will also draw up plans for how to conduct their panels, aiming for a variety of formats, including (but not limited to) fifteen minute presentations and posters. 

Uploading papers in advance (optional):  In order to encourage and enhance the level of discussion in the streams, participants are encouraged to prepare their work and upload it on the conference website for others to read in advance.  We recognise that some people may not be able to do this, hence it is an optional element, but we strongly encourage participants to follow this approach if they possibly can (and for others contributing to a particular stream to read them!).  Papers should be no more than 3,000 words in length; presentations at the conference should be summaries and reflections on these papers, not the papers themselves.

Summing up – challenges for the future: At the end of the conference, the stream leaders will write brief endnotes summing up the key points from their stream and their implications for future trajectories and challenges in medical anthropology. This approach, we hope, will bring together people from many different modes of practice, schools and regions in what we hope will be mutually inspiring encounters generating long-lasting engagements. Through the reconnaissance of individuals, subjects and theories, we anticipate the start of new and exciting agendas in the discipline. 

Skills-sharing workshops: in addition the conference will host a series of workshops allowing medical anthropologists to share skills and exchange experiences with mixed methods studies, participatory video methods, the use of spatial methods and social media, network analysis, and the analysis of large volumes of qualitative data.

Participation of Senior and Junior Scholars, as well as Practicing Anthropologists:The conference will be preceded by the annual Medical Anthropology Young Scholars network meeting, enabling graduate/postgraduate students to attend both events if they wish.  Bursaries for professional medical anthropologists (and some advanced graduate/postgraduate students) living in low income countries (sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, parts of Oceania, South and South East Asia, and parts of Central Asia) will be available through a generous grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. 

Further information about these and all other aspects of the conference, abstract submission, registration, accommodation, transportation, special opportunities for visual anthropology and other matters will be available on the conference website soon!

The joint conference organising committee of the SMA, EASA Medical Anthropology Network and the URV invite you to join with the spirit of the conference in order to create new agendas for medical anthropology in the historic and convivial city of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.


Deadline for abstracts: 15th February 2013

Deadline for notification of acceptance/rejection: 15th March 2013

Program uploaded on conference website: 15th April 2013

Deadline for uploading papers to conference website (optional): 3rd May 2013

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Encounters and Engagements: Student Travel Fellowships

  SMA Student Travel Fellowships: Deadline March 1, 2013 The Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) is pleased to be able to offer its student members a limited number of $800 student travel fellowships for travel to the 2013 SMA/EASA meeting … Continue reading

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MASA will hold an open meeting during the 111th American Anthropological Association annual meeting in San Francisco next week. Our MASA meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 17th from 12:15 to 1:30 (room not yet posted).

Members and non-members are welcome. We’ll have a visit from SMA President, Doug Feldman. We’ll talk about the upcoming Spain conference. We’ll discuss future opportunities for members. Feel free to grab lunch and bring it along with your questions, comments, or ideas. It is YOUR association!

-Mary Read-Wahidi


Call for Applicants: Emerging Leaders in Anthropology Program (ELAP)

ELAP Announcement

Opportunity for San Francisco and Beyond!!

DEADLINE: November 3rd, 2012

The National Association of Student Anthropologists (NASA), a section of the American Anthropological Association, in partnership with the Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA), the General Anthropology Division (GAD), the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA), the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), the Committee on World Anthropologies, and the Committee on Public Policy announce a new program in 2012 for developing leadership in the field of anthropology. We welcome students to submit targeted applications for one of four program spots. Program participants will receive training in AAA and NASA governance, contemporary issues in anthropology on this year’s selected tracks (engaged/activist anthropology and world anthropologies), mentoring from anthropologists engaged in participants’ area of interest, and will have the opportunity to attend a special meeting at the AAA San Francisco meeting.

Positions for 2012:
AQA-NASA Emerging Leader in Queer Anthropology
SMA-NASA Emerging Leader in Medical Anthropology
GAD-NASA Emerging Leader in Topics Spanning the Subfields
APLA-NASA Emerging Leader in Political and Legal Anthropology

I. Program contents
— $500 toward expenses for attendance at the AAA conference in San Francisco;
— free membership to the National Association of Student Anthropologists;
— free registration for AAA San Francisco 2012.
AAA San Francisco 2012
— AAA governance training;
— NASA governance participation;
— ELAP Cohort Training Lunch: issues in anthropology, fellowship/scholarship/funding presentation.
Mentoring and professional training paper
— pairing with two senior anthropologists: one in their topical area, one on their chosen track;
— production of a professional research training paper (PTP);
— students are free to use their PTPs as they see fit, but a special arrangement may be possible with Student Anthropologist, subject to approval by the journal’s editorial board.

II. Eligibility
i) Any student, ii) regardless of nationality, iii) enrolled at least half-time in a program in anthropology (minor, major, or interdisciplinary area where the focus is anthropology), iv) having completed at least two years of tertiary education at the time of application, and v) able to travel to the AAA meeting in San Francisco in November 2012.
Current officers of the National Association of Student Anthropologists and partnering sections are ineligible to apply.

III. Professional training paper topics
Student shall have the opportunity to produce an original piece of research during the program with the assistance of participating mentors on a contemporary topic in anthropology. Students shall have several months after the completion of the AAA meeting to work on this paper, and may have an opportunity for publication.

World Anthropologies: Critically assess one or more concerns relating to world anthropologies. These may include different genealogical, theoretical, institutional, or cultural issues. How have contemporary writers addressed these concerns? How can we surpass the metropolitan provincialism of hegemonic anthropologies?
Identify any related or concurrent problems. Suggest how we might approach the problem in a new light considering language, teaching and publishing issues that replicate inequality in the world system of anthropological production.

Engaged/Activist anthropology: Engaged/activist anthropology has come to mean a great many things. Briefly discuss the different approaches anthropologists have taken. Then identify and discuss an approach you find particularly compelling in light of contemporary social, economic, and cultural issues with which anthropologists grapple.

IV. Application procedure
To apply, please use our online form. You will need to upload an informal transcript, a current resume or CV, and a 500 word statement. You will also need to arrange for a letter of recommendation supporting your application to be emailed independently to
Application form
Go to:
Personal statement uploaded via the online form
Applicants will need to write a brief statement of no more than 500 words specifying why you would like to participate in the program, your professional plans after completing your education, your research interests, and a preliminary indication of the concerns within the track you have selected that you intend to address in your professional training paper;
Letter of recommendation
A letter of recommendation should be sent to with the subject ‘Your Name, ELAP 2012 letter of rec’ (for example: Jane Smith, ELAP 2012 letter of rec).
Basis of selection
Applicants will be selected for achievement at their respective levels (undergraduate, master, doctoral) based on the following criteria:
— academic performance and intellectual maturity;
— demonstrated leadership;
— commitments and engagements outside of formal education, including community and political activism and professional service;
— demonstrated knowledge of contemporary issues within the track chosen (engaged/activist
anthropology or world anthropologies).
V. Questions
Please send all questions to:

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SMA 2012 Student Travel Award – Deadline Sept 1

The Society for Medical Anthropology is offereing a student travel award for the 2012 AAA meetings in San Francisco.

Eligibility Requirements (must meet all four): 1) Primary disciplinary focus on medical anthropology; 2) Currently-enrolled doctoral student (does not need to be in an anthropology program); 3) Student member of the SMA; 4) Attending the AAA meetings to give a paper related to medical anthropology,

Required Application Materials: 1) A copy of your abstract; 2) The name of the session and notification of program acceptance; 3) Evidence of current student status and SMA membership; 4) A letter in support of the application (for most students, this letter should come from the primary academic advisor).

Please compile all the supporting materials into ONE file and save in pdf format. Email materials, and direct any inquiries, to: Medical Anthropology 2012 Student Travel Fellowship Committee at – Fellowships will be awarded based on the clarity, significance, and innovation of the proposed paper, as demonstrated in the abstract and the letter of support. Fellowship award winners will be notified by September 30, 2012. Awards will be formally announced, and checks will be presented, at the SMA business meeting in San Francisco.

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Several MASA Student Opportunities

SMA Newsletter Editor: The SMA is planning to develop a new online newsletter (about 4 pages, 4 times a year, sent as an e-mail attachment). We are looking for a newsletter editor. This would be excellent for an advanced graduate student with a broad knowledge of medical anthropology. We are offering a stipend of $2,000 per year starting in January 2…013. If interested, please send me (, with a cc to a cover letter detailing your experience or interest, and your c.v.

SMA Webmaster: The SMA needs a new webmaster. You definitely need webmaster experience to run the SMA website. This would also be very good for an advanced graduate student. We are offering a stipend of $7,500 per year starting no latter than November 2012 (possibly earlier, if available). If interested, please send me (, with a cc to a cover letter detailing your experience, and your c.v.

Charles Hughes Graduate Student Paper Prize: Deadline: July 1, 2012. The Hughes Prize recognizes the best paper written by a graduate student in this or the preceding academic year and carries a $250 cash award. The journal Medical Anthropology Quarterly (MAQ) will have the right of first refusal on winning manuscripts. Winners serve on the judging committee in the following year’s competition. Send nominations materials to Diane Weiner ( or, Hughes Prize Committee Chair, Masters Program in Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine, Building S, 801 Albany Street, Suite 319, Boston, MA  02119. For details on how to apply to the Hughes Prize competition, visit

Editorial Opportunity through MAQ: Medical Anthropology Quarterly, the flagship journal of SMA, occasionally receives manuscripts that would be appropriate for graduate students to review. They are looking for some advanced PhD students interested in gaining experience with the peer review process to serve as reviewers. Send CVs and areas of specialization to Wendy Bartlo at

Take a Stand Policy Statement Committee: The new SMA president,  Doug Feldman, wants to bring back the “take-a stand” initiative. This is where the various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of SMA write and publish policy statements about current issues. The other SMA Special Interest Groups have specific issues that they are organized around like HIV, Reproduction, and Disabilities. MASA is free to take a stand on whatever we decide to, but I would encourage us to take a stand on some student-related issue. I am going to form a committee whose task is to decide on a stand and to begin drifting a policy statement. The process is a little drawn out, but the reward is that our policy statement will appear in a future publication of MAQ. This is about a three-four page statement that will be reviewed by the board, put on the website for comments, and eventually published. You can find examples of past policy statements on the SMA website ( If you are interested in joining the committee, or have ideas for a policy statement, please email me at

Mentor Award Committee: Each year MASA awards an outstanding graduate student mentor with a prize. Mentors are nominated by their students, and nominations are open for three years. We review the nomination letters and choose a winner to be announced at the 2012 AAA meeting. We have had the pleasure to award prizes to some of the most impressive medical anthropology professors. I need three volunteers to join this committee. It is fun, and a great way to learn about outstanding professors in our field. If you are interested in joining the committee, please email me at

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MASA Business Meeting at SfAA Meeting

Fellow SMA Student Members,

I would like to invite you all to attend Medical Anthropology Student Association’s business meeting that will be held during the Society for Applied Anthropology annual meeting next week in Baltimore, Maryland. Our meeting will be on Saturday, March 31st from 12:00 to 1:00 in the International Room B. Feel free to grab a lunch and bring it along with you. As SMA student members, you are all officially members of MASA, and the purpose of this meeting is to bring you up to speed on a number of opportunities available to MASA members. I also look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions about how MASA can better serve its members, even those of you who can’t attend the meeting.

Here is an outline of the agenda for our meeting:


  • Needs of students- How can MASA serve you?
  • How to formally join MASA
  • Our facebook page

Opportunities to get involved:

  • SMA European Meeting in 2013
  • Editorial opportunity through MAQ
  • “Take a Stand” Policy Statement Committee
  • Mentor Award Committee
  • SMA Newsletter Editor

2012 AAA meeting- San Francisco:

  • Travel awards for students
  • MASA Special Sessions
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