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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