Current Medical Anthropology Students

General Information

Program Directors:
Laura L. Heinemann, Ph.D.
Phone: 402.280.2302

Alexander Roedlach, SVD, Ph.D.
Phone: 402.280.2567

Medical Anthropology Graduate Students

Temana Andalcio 

Research Interests: public health, health equity, social determinants of health, community

Temana Andalcio is passionate about the empowerment of marginalized communities and the application of science and research to social justice initiatives. Her primary research interest is to address health inequities, with a special interest in work with Latin American and Caribbean populations, both within the United States and abroad. Living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, she is currently engaged in collaborative work with Northern Plains American Indian Nations, utilizing ?community-­?based participatory research? principles.  Through this work she has developed expertise and interest in research ethics, specifically human subjects protections in research and community protections in research.

Nadia Alaglan Manly
Nadia Alaglan-Manly

Scholarly interests: obesity, substance abuse, mental illness, Arab populations.


Chad BaberChad Baber
Scholarly Interests: special needs, education, Asia, religion

Chad attended the University of Texas in Austin where he completed his B.A. in Asian Studies with a minor in Anthropology. For his undergraduate degree, his focus of studies included religion in East Asia with an emphasis on death and rituals among the elderly population. During this time, he also participated in research courses where he translated ema tablets (wooden tablets hung in shrines across Japan). His current research interests include special needs in Japan, Korea, and the U.S. He is a member of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) and Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS).

Lara Defino-CosciaLaura DeFino-Coscia
Scholarly Interests: midwifery, teen pregnancy, primal period anthropology, international health

Laura lives in North Carolina and specializes in home births in the greater Raleigh and surrounding rural areas, while traveling and observing pregnancy, birthing, and infant health practices worldwide. She strongly believes in using alternative techniques whenever possible and believes other cultures have much to teach us about them. She and her husband have 3 children. In her free time she enjoys playing the piano, guitar, and African drums, and cooking.

Yasmeen Esshaki
Scholarly Interests: Hookah's effects on the body and its cultural connotations, American food culture, culture shock and major health issues among Middle Eastern immigrants, Alzheimer.

Yasmeen graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.A. in Anthropology. She was born and raised in San Diego and belongs to its thriving Chaldean community. As an undergraduate she had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy and Cork, Ireland. Her time in Cork and Florence was spent taking courses in anthropology and art history, respectively. After graduation, she plans to pursue a medical education.

Charles Horne

Tiffany Imes    
Planned  research interests: food systems, medical humanitarianism, health services
research, food safety.

I currently work as a food security analyst for southern Africa for the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) project. My background is in food and nutrition policy and disease control and surveillance. I have more than 10 years of experience in field research operations, project management, and health education and outreach. I have work experience in southern Africa, West Africa, and Asia. I also have a BA in Geography from Colgate University and an MSPH in Parasitology from Tulane University.

Andrew Gleason

Andrew Gleason
Scholarly Interests: global health, rural health, gender

Originally from Buxton, Maine, Andrew graduated from Le Moyne College with a B.A. in Spanish and Peace and Global Studies. Throughout his undergraduate career Andrew participated in many domestic and international service immersion experiences. After volunteering for an NGO in Quito, Ecuador he became interested in global development issues. Andrew is currently the Program Coordinator for Creighton University's Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC). He works in the Dominican Republic, residing on the grounds of an international, collaborative health care and educational organization. He coordinates and facilitates various short-term immersion experiences, including medical missions.

Julie Jalbert

Research Interests: Mental illnesses, special needs, spectrum of autism, and stigma of autism from a global perspective.

Originally from Montreal, I decided to further my education in Manitoba, where I currently reside. I obtained my B.A. in Anthropology at Brandon University. While working toward the completion of my bachelor degree, I found employment as a residential coordinator in the public health sector, responsible for the management of health and financial details of individuals with disabilities, and responsible for the human resource management of the location support workers. After the completion of my B. A., I pursued a post secondary degree in education. I recently graduated from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, with a Master of Education.
I would like to conclude with one of my favorite quotations:
?The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences?.
-    Ruth Benedict

Stephanie Kohl

Research Interests: Global health, medical missions, public health policy, immigrant and refugee healthcare, social justice

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Stephanie studied Anthropology and Biology at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California ('08). In her undergraduate studies she did several research projects focusing on racial identity and on the effectiveness of medical mission trips in Ensenada, Mexico. During that time she interned in a Spanish language Diabetes education program at a community health clinic. She currently works in public health in DuPage County outside of Chicago. She previously worked as a flight attendant and medical assistant in Dermatology. She and her husband Justin live in Hinsdale, IL.

Stephanie enjoys traveling with her husband, training their dog Huffy, photography, and outdoor activities like hiking, snowboarding and biking. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico.

Rachel Larsen

Rachel Larsen

Scholarly Interests: Improving Patient Outcomes

Rachel lives in Santaquin, Utah with her husband, Brandon, daughter Brittany, and her flock of animals. She received her undergraduate degree at Utah Valley University and majored in Anthropology.  Prior to returning to school she worked in the medical field as a radiology technician.

Tom Lenz

Research  Interests:  Well-­?being; employee health; community building; engagement

Hello All.  My name is Tom Lenz and I am very pleased to begin this journey with you. I have been at Creighton since 1988 and am a professor with a primary appointment in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. My educational background consists of a bachelor and master degrees in exercise science from Creighton and the University of Nebraska-­?Omaha, respectively. I then completed the PharmD program at Creighton followed by a 2-­?year fellowship in cardiovascular research within our School of Medicine. My primary work responsibilities are to serve as the director of Creighton?s Center for Health Promotion and Well-­?Being.  I have 4 wonderful children ranging in age from 7-­?18 and an awesome wife, Nancy, who is a physical therapist. We love to do outdoor activities, run, and waterski.

Mooka  Maboshe-­Sitali

"I am a Zambian citizen, and a Canadian permanent resident. I am a practicing Registered Nurse, with a Diploma from Lusaka, Zambia, and a BScN from Excelsior College, NY. I have lived/worked, and still maintain active RN licenses in Zambia, Botswana, Michigan USA and BC Canada-­?which makes me a "global nurse" (LOL). As an early applicant to this program, I am now on my 2nd course. I hope to go on to a PhD in Global Health in a Canadian University, and to work on health issues in sub Saharan Africa, and probably North American Indigenous populations as well. My research interests as at now include Ethnography, Indigenous health, Global Health, social determinants of health, critical anthropology, Health politics, policy, and economy, Africa, and Chronic diseases. My husband and I are "school junkies," and lifelong learners. We love to travel, participate in our church, and meet lots of people.

Mason  McCain
Research  Keywords: Market-­?Based Health Systems, Rural Health, and Homelessness

Hailing from the small community of Wisner, Nebraska, Mason McCain split his upbringing between a love for the outdoors, taking up archery at the age of six, and his passion for learning. He went on to study Chemistry at Creighton University as his passion for learning was fueled by the liberal arts curriculum. Aspirations of medical school and a run in with Liberation Theology introduced him to the field of Medical Anthropology through the writings and actions of Paul Farmer. He hopes to use these influences to provide greater awareness and care to the underserved.

Carol Montgomery-­Taylor

Kalie Tuquyen NguyenKalie Tuquyen Nguyen

Scholarly Interests: Bioculture, adaptation, disease, and norms

Kalie received her B.A. at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona majoring in Cultural Anthropology. She plans to increase her knowledge in the differences of social and medicinal practice in cultures around the world through a focus in Medical Anthropology. She enjoys traveling and exploring the world.  As a chapter founder and project director of Nourish International, she leads a group to Cameroon, Africa, to work alongside the Better Family Foundation to build water irrigation to bring clean water to local villages. The group will also facilitate workshops for local populations providing health care education in AIDS/HIV.

Kristienne McFarland

Samantha NardellaSamantha Nardella
Research interests: critical medical anthropology, elective termination of pregnancy, health policy, social justice


Christine  Rice    

Research  Interests: Qualitative research, healing practices, wellness beliefs, public health culturally based communication and outreach.

Christine Rice is a Blackfoot (Siksika). I was born and raised in California, I was raised on the Tribal Rancheria?s in California. California is a cornucopia of Tribal cultures from all over Canada, USA and Mexico. Every tribe is a distinct culture, language and worldviews. Within this framework there are a multitude of healing practices and definitions of health and disease. Growing up I was afforded a singular look at multiple tribal points of view. I became a social activist and left college in mid-­?1970. I continue with social justice, education and public health activism into the present. In addition, California is extremely multi-­?cultural -­?   again with different worldviews and understandings of health and disease. I believe that it is vital to understand different views of health and disease in order to
provide effective and positive public health services. I am also very focused on pandemics -­?
how they begin, start, the run and why they die out. I do believe that the world is in
position for the eruption of another pandemic -­?   what of when is not specifically known but conditions are lining up for a pandemic.

I attended Catholic schools from the 6th through the 12th grade in California.


Danica Rush

Scholarly Interests: Cultural context of memory loss

Danica is a registered nurse in Toronto, Canada. She explores the cultural context, patterns of relationships and significant meanings of health, wellness, illness and adaptation of older adults living with memory loss. Ethnography, relational inquiry, complexity theory, embodied selfhood and art-based research construct the framework which guides her research and nursing practice. This framework allows her to examine how the experience of living with memory loss is interwoven into to the complexity of a person who is in relation to the social, cultural and political context of the broader society in which they live.

Marissa Sjoblom

Michael Stec

Giovanna Sanguinetti

Scholarly Interests: Women's Health, Epidemiology, Human sexuality and culture, Patient advocacy

Giovanna defines herself a product of Mediterranean, rustic vineyards intertwined with Caribbean sand and endless summers. She was born into a multicultural family. Her paternal grandparents are from Italy, who then later moved to Lima, Peru. Her mother is from Ponce, Puerto Rico, where she was born. She was exposed to a number of cultural differences as a child. Needless, to say she loves to travel. She appreciates and respects each culture and religion and strives to learn from each of them every day. She finds that looking at other cultures from an objective point of view can really help put into perspective your own culture and norms. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and shares two marvelous boys with him: Giovanni Andres and Italo Gianni.

Maree  Sugai       

Research  Interests: Suicide prevention, Empathy in practice, Sociolinguistics, Culture in health care practice, Mental health

I am a full time senior lecturer, faculty member and researcher at Tohoku University of Community Service and Science (KU) in Japan. I have been teaching in Japan for 26 years and have published and presented at social science, psychology and behavioral science conferences in America, Canada, and Japan. I am passionate about public speaking and communication and connection of research. My long thesis was in intercultural communication and my current research area is in acute social withdrawal/hikikomori. I have worked on the governing board of a mental health rehabilitation center in Japan for fourteen years; assisting in counseling for, and including, families who have lost members to suicide and for those who have suffered severe trauma, or are severely depressed or psychotic. I believe this us an area that is very under researched, that murky puddle of diagnosis and naming and stamping people whose mental conditions are all so unique. My academic training and research interest is in socio-­?linguistics and medical
anthropology. I'm also Vice Director of The International Center at Tohoku University of Community Service and Science) in Sakata City, Yamagata, North Japan, my full time work place. I am in charge of exchange programs for International students interested in Japanese culture and ways. I am Mom to two wonderful boys both in their twenties and 2 wonderful (and silly funny) cats.

Phil Sweet

Phil Sweet
Research interests:  youth, delinquency, systems of care, mental health, faith-based treatment


Carleigh  VanDetta 

Research  Interests:  Intellectual disabilities, day services, quality of life

Carleigh is originally from outside of Chicago and attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-­?Champaign for her undergraduate studies, where she received a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with an interdisciplinary minor in Human Aging, specifically looking at the effects of the aging process on human cognition.

During her studies, she also took part in a community-­?based project, Child Assault Prevention Education, educating classrooms in the local community ways to prevent childhood abuse while also learning the short-­?term and long-­?term effects of abuse on child development. Bringing together her love for working with children and her interest in human cognition, she is currently studying to be an occupational therapist at Creighton University. Her future goal is to develop a day program for young adults with severe developmental disabilities to provide the opportunity for continued growth to achieve an overall improved quality of life.

 Carleigh Van Detta SmithermanCarleigh VanDetta-Smitherman

Carleigh is originally from a town near Chicago and attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for her undergraduate studies, where she received a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with an interdisciplinary minor in Human Aging, specifically looking at the effects of the aging process on human cognition.

During her studies, she also took part in a community-based project, Child Assault Prevention Education, educating classrooms in the local community ways to prevent childhood abuse while also learning the short-term and long-term effects of abuse on child development. Bringing together her love for working with children and her interest in human cognition, she is currently studying to be an occupational therapist at Creighton University. Her future goal is to develop a day program for young adults with severe developmental disabilities to provide the opportunity for continued growth to achieve an overall improved quality of life.