Kim Jones and Julia Roberts ’10 participate in 70th annual conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology

Kim Jones, an assistant professor of anthropology, chaired a session at the 70th annual international conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Merida, Mexico, from March 23-27, 2010. More than 5,400 practicing and applied anthropologists from across the Americas and across the globe were registered for the conference.

Jones has been a member of SfAA since 2004 and was recently nominated and elected as a Fellow in the society. 

Julia Roberts, a senior in the Honors Fellows program, presented a paper with four other panelists from the United Stated and Canada in the session. The panelists presented five case studies that reveal how structural barriers limit access to health care for marginalized populations, such as migrant farm workers, rural-to-urban migrants, and immigrants in Canada, the US, and South America.

Roberts and her mentor also attended sessions on the crisis in Haiti, globalization, development, and public health, international programs to prevent and manage HIV+/ AIDS, and Service-Learning and Global Citizenship, and met with regional experts on indigenous development and study abroad in the Yucatan peninsula and health and the drug crisis in Mexico.

Roberts said she was especially excited to have the opportunity to discuss career opportunities and trajectories with professionals in applied work in development and health and really enjoyed having a conversation with the primary author of the text that is currently being used in her course on medical anthropology taught by Jones.


70th Annual Conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico 

Session W40: Wednesday, March 23, 2010, 10:00-11:30

Panel Abstract: Migration and Access to Healthcare in the Americas
JONES, Kimberly M. (Elon University)

This panel addresses the ways in which access to healthcare services is affected by the regional and international movement of people, resources, and information. What contrasts exist, in terms of ability to provide information about and treatment for complicated diseases, among healthcare providers in host and sending countries or in rural and urban settings? What parts do structural inequalities and individual agency play in the stories of those for whom movement, such as traveling to a distant clinic or seeking treatment in a foreign setting, is an essential part of managing illness treatment?

New Frontiers: Attending to Immigrant Mental Health Care in Lexington, KY
CAIRO, Aminata (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)
State Departments are no longer placing refugees in major cities, but instead in smaller towns and rural areas. Though overburdened, major cities have been sites where many resources are available. This paper will describe a project in Lexington, KY, a small city, where supportive infrastructure and especially mental health care services fall short for refugees and Latino migrants. The project involved recruitment and training of refugees and Latino migrants alongside university students. Members were trained with the goal of giving voice to some of the stresses and struggles they encounter in their adjustment to living in the US.

Access to Healthcare: Transient Farm Workers in the Connecticut River Valley
COOK, Jennifer A. (University of New Hampshire)]

This project examines the lives of migrant farm workers in the Connecticut River Valley, a population which consists mainly of Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and other Central American workers. The focus of this research is on this population’s life-long patterns of labor migration, and the factors which impact their experiences. Through interviews with 17 migrant farm workers, one farm owner, and a Department of Labor representative, in addition to volunteer work with the University of Connecticut’s Migrant Farm Worker Clinics, I found that place of origin is the most influential factor in defining the experiences of Connecticut’s migrant workers.

Not Living on Indian Land: Healthcare Denial and Access in the History of American Indian Labor Migration and in Contemporary Struggles for Tribal Sovereignty in Central California
HOWARD, Heather A. (Michigan State University)

This paper explores the health and healthcare of Native farm and lumber workers who moved away from federal Indian trust lands in the early twentieth century. These historical experiences are tied to the contemporary struggle by subsequent generations to recover land for tribal gaming in the places where their ancestors worked and suffered. I focus on how these stories are integral to conceptualizations of tribal citizenship and the production of knowledge about Native peoples in the San Joaquin Valley, which includes changing the social determinants of health and improving healthcare for tribal members under the economic freedom promised by gaming.

Between Equity and Exclusion: Healthcare of Transnational Migrant Workers in Canada
MCLAUGHLIN, Janet (University of Guelph)
Tracing the lives of transnational farm workers as they migrate from Mexico and Jamaica to Canada and ‘home’ again, this paper assesses their access to healthcare services across the three countries, focusing on the specific cases of workers who have experienced illness or injury while migrating. I explore the discordance between principles of human rights and healthcare equity for legal migrants, and the reality of their experiences, while assessing the efforts of some groups, including a specialized medical clinic, to fill such gaps.

Access to HIV Testing: Rural to Urban Migration and Public Health in Montes Claros, Brazil
ROBERTS, Julia E. (Elon University)
This case study evaluates how a public hospital in Montes Claros, Brazil has attempted to reconcile outcome gaps with HIV/AIDS by examining aspects of the demographic profiles of patients receiving HIV exams at two respective sites. In comparison to Centro de Testagem e Aconselhamento (CTA), the Clemente Faria University Hospital (HUCF) served more populations who face inequities in access to HIV services, including women, people from rural areas, and youth (ages 10-16). This case study serves as an example of the need to offer public health care services at diverse sites in order to provide access to target populations.