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Healthcare systems

Our lab has extensive experience with mixed-method healthcare systems evaluation and policy. We have collaborated on studies including a multi-campus intervention evaluation study, based at UC Berkeley, that assessed students' use of alcohol and other drugs including prescription medications on 26 campuses in California; and we have helped to lead clinical studies including a multi-site trial for locally advanced breast cancer treatment in Egypt, India, Mexico, South Africa, and the US; and a system change study on access to novel therapeutics for lethal cancer in Canada and the United States. 


Across these studies, we use various different methods and modes--observation, survey, interview, media analysis, organizational scan, archival work, and material culture analysis--to understand, facilitate, and evaluate healthcare research in the interest of more equitable, and comprehensive healthcare systems. 

Anthropological foci for this cluster include:

How do healthcare providers and patients of diverse identities, experiences, and expertise perceive 

meanings such as "access to care," "collaborative healthcare," or "continuity of care." These phrases are all commonly used in healthcare settings such as oncology but they do not mean the same thing to all practitioners, patients, or carers. 


Across projects, we are thinking critically and futuristically about the role of digital technologies in the creation of understandings of medical expertise. We are interested the increased role of patient activists and advocacy networks, for example, in online forums and other publics--and the impact of patient-led healthcare movements on broader societal understandings and priorities, including what issues get public funding, and how those issues get recognized in public discourse. 


Current projects: implementation and evaluation of a state-funded program in school-based healthcare with Mount Abraham Union School District and Mountain Health Center. In a second project, we are researching digital innovations in cancer treatment support and peer advocacy, specifically among children with cancer.

Publications/ Research in Progress


Mills, A, et al. 2021. "Medical assistance in dying and the meaning of care: perspectives of nurses, pharmacists, and social workers." Health. 1363459321996774.

Eaton, T, et al. 2017. "Chinese American immigrant breast cancer survivors and their experiences with post-treatment care." Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice 10(1).

Adrian, M, et al. 2017. Breast Cancer Treatment Decision Support Tool. 

Bright, K. 2015"What health care system delays reveal about inequalities in breast cancer medicine and global health." Cancer 121(13): 2124-2126.

Bright, K, et al. 2011. "The role of health system factors in delaying final diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in Mexico City, Mexico." The Breast 20: S54-S59.

Yip, CH, et al. 2011. "Breast cancer management in middle-resource countries (MRCs): consensus statement from the Breast Health Global Initiative." The Breast 20: S12-S19.

Nygaard, P, et al. 2007. "Archival data: Collection and use in community alcohol projects." Substance Use & Misuse 42(12-13): 1945-1953.

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