Misericordia University to Offer Lecture

Members News


The Medical and Health Humanities Program at Misericorida University is presenting, “Syndemic Diabetes: Entanglements of Poverty, Trauma, and HIV,” a lecture by medical anthropologist Emily Mendenhall, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of global health at Georgetown University, on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Catherine Evans McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library. The free presentation is open to the public.

Dr. Mendenhall has spent 10 years studying the social determinants of health among urban poor with Type 2 diabetes in the cities of Delhi, India; Nairobi, Kenya; Johannesburg, South Africa, and Chicago, Illinois. She studied how global and local factors impact how diabetes is perceived and experienced in different socioeconomic settings, and how these differences impact those living with the disease.

She is the author of two books. “Syndemic Suffering: Social Distress, Depression, and Diabetes among Mexican Immigrant Women,” (2012, Routledge), involves 121 life history narratives of women in Chicago who face considerable social distress and duress associated with immigration, poverty, interpersonal violence, social exclusion and financial insecurity. Together these social factors become entangled in their psychological suffering, examined through depression, and physical distress. Dr. Mendenhall maintains that these social and health problems travel together and become syndemic, or inseparable in cultivating poor health.

In addition, she was the lead author on a series of articles on syndemics published in “The Lancet” in 2017 that offer an innovative way to think about social determinants of health. Her second book on the subject, “Rethinking Diabetes: Entanglements of Poverty, Trauma, and HIV,” is due out in 2019 by Cornell University Press.

In 2017, Dr. Mendenhall received the “George Foster Award for Practicing Medical Anthropology” by the Society for Medical Anthropology.

Misericordia’s Medical and Health Humanities Program was established in 2016. It focuses on the human being, human experience and the need for empathy, as related to medical and health practices. It is for students who are interested in the humanities fields, as well as health care and medicine. For more information on the bachelor’s degree program, please log on to www.misericordia.edu/medicalhumanities.

For more information on the lecture or questions regarding the Medical and Health Humanities Program at Misericordia University, contact Amanda Caleb, Ph.D., program director, at acaleb@misericordia.edu, or (570) 674-8113.