Carolyn Sargent, PhD
Professor of Anthropology and WGSS, Arts & Sciences
As a medical anthropologist, Dr. Sargent’s research over the past twenty years has focused on gender and health issues, and population policy. She has conducted fieldwork in West Africa on household management of reproductive health, local midwifery in northern Benin, use of hospitals vs. home delivery in rural and urban Benin, access to and use of prenatal care services in Jamaica, and fertility patterns among West African migrants in Paris, France. Dr. Sargent’s research has been financed primarily by the National Science Foundation, but also by USAID and various foundations. Her teaching experience is in the same domain—She currently teaches “Health, healing, and medical ethics”—a cross-cultural overview of how cultural, political, economic factors influence health and health care, and “Transnational reproductive health issues.” She has also taught a variety of graduate seminars in medical anthropology.
Dr. Sargent is a past president of the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), the principle association for medical anthropologists in the U.S. In addition to serving as a board member of the SMA several times, she is (or has been) on the editorial boards of several journals that address questions of culture, society, and public health. Dr. Sargent has also served as community representative to two hospital ethics committees in Dallas, Texas, for over ten years.
What opportunities do you see for interdisciplinary collaboration on public health initiatives in the future?
“This is an exciting moment at Washington University for interdisciplinary collaboration on public health initiatives. As a medical anthropologist, I foresee potential collaborations for my colleagues and myself in research, teaching, organizing conferences, and so forth. I see this as a prime opportunity to develop links among anthropology, public health, the medical school, and social work. Strengthening connections among these disciplines and offering joint degrees seems to me a productive trajectory for all of us.”