Pfeiffer receives Society for Medical Anthropology Award

Submitted by Catherine M. Zeigler on

At the Society for Medical Anthropology awards ceremony in early November, James Pfeiffer (Professor, Anthropology, and the School of Public Health) was awarded the "George Foster Practicing Medical Anthropology Award" -  a career achievement recognition that “…recognizes those who have made significant contributions to applying theory and methods in medical anthropology, particularly in diverse contexts, to multidisciplinary audiences, and with some impact on policy."

Prof. Pfeiffer expressed that he was “thrilled and honored” to receive this award especially as it is meant to “highlight and recognize the application of anthropological methods and perspectives to real world health programs, projects, and policies." Having spent most of his career working in global health, “often as the lone anthropologist on a team,” he emphasized that “we (anthropologists) are needed more than ever since we are often the only ones on the research or professional side of this work who use methods that center on listening to and collaborating with recipient communities. Medical anthropology at its best can help provide a corrective to narrower public health and biomedical approaches that often objectify their "target" populations, and exclude community voices and priorities with blinders on to social, cultural, political, historical, and economic context.”

In the spirit of this award, Prof. Pfeiffer is deeply invested in mentoring medical anthropology students who will transform the field as they mobilize their expertise in applied contexts: “One of my greatest joys is to mentor the next generation of medical anthropologists who will take their talents out of the ivory tower to support and help protect marginalized communities. Increasingly, many young anthropologists come from marginalized communities themselves and hope to return to support them. Medical anthropologists have become advocates to speak truth to power in collaboration with those communities to change policy and provide better health care for all. I'm so proud to be a part of UW Anthropology's Medical Anthropology and Global Health (MAGH) program where we are doing just that, mentoring and preparing a new transformative generation of engaged anthropologists."

Congratulations Prof. Pfeiffer!