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Holistic school health

In this research cluster, we are focused on publicly engaged, evidence-driven approaches to whole student health (chronic and acute care, mental health, dental health, sports medicine, social-emotional, and sexual and contraceptive healthcare). In 2022, our lab began collaborating with Mt Abe Union School District and Mountain Health Center (a federally qualified clinic) to create a school based health center (SBHC) for comprehensive primary health.

Our community partners


School-based health center


We are excited to offer opportunities to Middlebury students to join us in designing, evaluating, and ensuring the long-term success of this initiative. If you have ideas about health or wellness workshops you’d like to help design or facilitate, ethnographic research you'd like to get involved with, or digital design and digital engagement skills you'd contribute to this public initiative, please reach out to Professor Bright at


Anthropological questions for this project include: How do students of diverse ages, experiences, and identities imagine “good health” or “good care”? In the context of pandemic shutdowns and protocols, how do students think about mental health, relational health, physical health? Do students approach health in terms of specialized need (e.g., chronic diabetes or ADHD management) or do they take a holistic outlook? How do students envision the future of student healthcare?


Across the project, we are thinking critically and futuristically about relational health, what that means for diverse K-12 students in Vermont (rural students, students with disabilities, BIPOC students, LGBTQIA+ students, immigrant and international students, etc). How can we apply our anthropological tools and theory to the design and delivery of more comprehensive primary care.


Public applications: we are gathering ethnographic information from students about intercultural and transnational ideas about health and whole student wellness that can be engaged iteratively in the design of student health workshops and services. Second, we are exploring avenues for public media partnership; for example opportunities where middle and high school students can partner with college students to produce video shorts, and host those as TikToks or podcasts.


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