Current Medical Anthropology Students

General Information

Program Director:

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

Medical Anthropology Graduate Students

Creighton's graduate students meeting renowned authors in medical anthropology at the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Vancouver, March 2016. The photo on the right shows Mooka Sitali-Maboshe with Dr. Elisa Sobo, the current President of the Society for Medical Anthropology. The photo on the left shows Mooka Sitali-Maboshe and Stephanie Kohl with Dr. Merrill Singer, known for his groundbreaking work on syndemics. 

Temana Andalcio 

Scholarly Interests: public health, health equity, social determinants of health, community empowerment

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.

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).

Katherine DeBartolo

Scholarly Interests: person/family-centered care, end-of-life care, health care equity

Kate graduated from Wellesly College and lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and their dog, Max. She is the National Field Manager of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and The Conversation Project. In her role, she cultivates relationships to support hundreds of regions and communities working on The Conversation Project as part of their end-of-life care efforts. She studies ethnogeriatrics in the US and intends to incorporate insights from her research into her work and support of community leaders across the country.

Steven Choi

Scholarly Interests: palliative care, integrative medicine, preventive care

Steven is a recent MD graduate from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts. His goal is to apply medical anthropology to his medical training (family medicine residency and fellowships in integrative medicine and palliative care) and to his future practice (hospice and primary care multidisciplinary clinic). Outside of academia and his professional life, he enjoys watching competitive games and NBA basketball and producing music.

Samuel Costanzo

Scholarly Interests: bioethics, clinical care and cultural norms, gender and sexuality

Sam's previous work in anthropology at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Missouri, St. Louis, examined political economy and shifting notions of manhood in Morocco. With his interest in exploring gender, sexuality and their intersections with medical anthropology, he hopes to pursue research into the normative value systems that inform and are shaped by bioethical standards for the clinical management of intersex conditions and disorders of sex development in the Muslim Middle East and North Africa.

Laura DeFino-Coscia

Scholarly Interests: cancer, mixed methods research, disease survivors, epidemiology, global health

Laura is a Certified Tumor Registrar working as an Oncology Data Analyst for the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry. She also does consulting for various projects. Medical anthropology theories and methods provide her with the skills necessary to study cancer treatment and survival from a culturally sensitive perspective, necessary for designing and implementing creatively tailored solutions to oncology challenges. She has three children and a sweet little brown dog, named Penny. In her free time she enjoys doing a variety of activities with her kids, aerial arts, playing the piano as well as the guitar and African drums, gardening, and cooking.

Martha Earney

Scholarly Interests: pediatric health and wellness, access to care, familial involvement in care and therapeutic outcomes

Martha is a graduate of Creighton University with her doctorate in occupational therapy and works as a pediatric therapist with children and their families in southeast Idaho. She serves as a teaching assistant for Creighton's OT program and is a fieldwork educator for students during their clinical rotations. Her interests include engagement in international service learning with an emphasis on the pediatric population and the impact of familial involvement on outcomes of therapy. She spends her weekends adventuring in the mountains, reading, and traveling.

Graduate Students Stephanie Keeney-Parks and Andy Gleason at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Minneapolis in November 2016.


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.

Marisa Finan-Goode

Scholarly Interests: cancer, Native American health, reproductive health and birthing

Marisa graduated with a B.S. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. During her undergraduate studies she focused on disparate rates in cervical cancer among Native American populations as well as the cultural constructions of pain as they relate to labor and delivery experiences. She plans to integrate her studies in medical anthropology with an eventual Ph.D. in cancer biology research adding a holistic and community-based perspective to such research.

Molly Gillcrist

Scholarly Interests: rape culture, human sexuality, gender relations

Molly is currently completing her undergraduate studies and the pre-med requirements at Creighton University. She will graduate in May 2017 with a BA in Medical Anthropology and a Graduate Certificate in Medical Anthropology. She hopes to go to medical school and use her education to assist people in developing countries.

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.

Allie Waltz

Scholarly Interests: cultural issues in psychology and psychiatry, pharmaceutical dependency, homeopathic medicine

Allie graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in international politics. Her home is San Diego where she lives with her fiance and two dogs. She is currently teaching elementary school children and taking every opportunity to travel the world and see new cultures. Allie is very interested in experiencing and understanding the unfamiliar. She hopes to gain a better understanding of psychology and to focus on cultural values relevance for the practice of psychology and psychiatry. After graduating from Creighton University, she hopes to continue her education and obtain a Ph.D. H

Tiffany Imes    
Scholarly 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.

Julie Jalbert

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

Originally from Montreal, Julie obtained a B.A. in Anthropology at Brandon University. While working toward the completion of my bachelor degree, she 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 graduation she pursued a post secondary degree in education and received a M.A. in Education from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. She is inspired by Ruth Benedict's statement that the purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences.

Stephanie Keeney Parks

Scholarly Interests: autism, special needs families, inclusive education environments

Stephanie completed her B.A. at Ashford University in Cultural Anthropology. She is the mother of two children, one of them is a child living with autism. Stephanie has spent the last ten years of her life advocating for her son. She is well-known for her work as a fierce advocate for families with an autistic child. Her passions include how culture shapes the autism experience both for those living with autism as well as their loved ones. Stephanie is also dedicated to the improvement of special education and the inclusion of all students regardless of disability, in the general education school environment.

Stephanie Kohl

Scholarly 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.

Tom Lenz

Scholarly Interests:  Well-­being; employee health; community building; engagement

Tom has been at Creighton since 1988 and is a professor with a primary appointment in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. His educational background consists of a bachelor and master degrees in exercise science from Creighton and the University of Nebraska in Omaha, respectively. He completed the PharmD program at Creighton followed by a 2-year fellowship in cardiovascular research within Creighton's School of Medicine. His primary work responsibilities are to serve as the director of Creighton's Center for Health Promotion and Well-Being. He has 4 wonderful children ranging in age from 7-18, and an awesome wife, Nancy, who is a physical therapist. They love to do outdoor activities, run, and waterski.

Mooka  Maboshe-­Sitali

Scholarly Interests: nursing, global health, indigenous health, determinants of health, critical anthropology, Africa, chronic diseases

Mooka is a Zambian citizen and a Canadian permanent resident. She is a practicing Registered Nurse, with a Diploma from Lusaka, Zambia, and a BScN from Excelsior College, NY. She has lived/worked and still maintains active RN licenses in Zambia, Botswana, Michigan (USA) and British Columbia (Canada), which makes her a "global nurse". After graduating from Creighton, she plans to pursue a PhD in Global Health at a Canadian University, and to work on health issues in sub-Saharan Africa, and with North American Indigenous populations. Her husband and she are "school junkies," and lifelong learners. They love to travel, participate in their church, and meet lots of people.

Mason  McCain
Scholarly Interests: 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

David Orenstein

Scholarly Interests: medical ethics, vaccine denial, activism

Dr. David Orenstein is a full professor at Medgar Evers College (CUNY) and teaches anthropology. He is an international speaker on issues related to the free-thought movement, censorship and also human evolution. Dr. Orenstein hopes to attain his MA in Medical Anthropology to better understand the nature of human responses to disease and illness, focusing on a cross-cultural perspective. He also hopes to take what he learns into his classes to share with his students.

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

Melissa Page

Scholarly Interests: patient engagement, global health, perceptions of disease

Melissa received her B.S. at Northeastern University, majoring in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she began working at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) focusing on end-of-life care. Upon graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Liberia. After her time in the Peace Corps, Melissa returned to IHI and is interested in learning how to combine the needs of populations to health care delivery.

Erin Riley

Scholarly Interests: sexual health education, contraceptive health education, women's empowerment in sexual health

Erin currently works at the University of Michigan as a project manager in transgender health and HIV research. Her research background includes work on MSM health (health of men-who-have-sex-with-men), HIV education and prevention, and emergency contraceptives in Latin America. In future, she plans to concentrate on sexual health practices of indigenous women in Central American and the education of women in sexual health practices.


Christine  Rice    

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

Christine Rice is a Blackfoot (Siksika) and was born and raised in California on the Tribal Rancheria, where she became familiar with a multitude of healing practices and definitions of health and disease. Growing up in California exposed her to many different worldviews and understandings of health and disease. She believes that it is vital to understand different views of health and disease in order to provide effective and positive public health services. After college, she became a social activist in the mid-1970s and continues to work on social justice, education and public health activism. 

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.

Scott Sands

Scholarly Interests: patient advocacy, border health, health education

Scott is a Registered Nurse in the border town of Laredo, Texas. His bedside experience includes pediatrics, NICU, hospice, substance abuse and home health nursing, culminating in his own home care agency. As a Medical Anthropology student, he hopes to explore the culture of alcoholism. His long-term goals include teaching online and working towards a doctorate in Education.

Marissa Sjoblom

Michael Stec

Maree  Sugai       

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

Maree is a full time senior lecturer, faculty member and researcher at Tohoku University of Community Service and Science (KU) in Japan. She has been teaching in Japan for 26 years and has published and presented at social science, psychology and behavioral science conferences in America, Canada, and Japan. She is passionate about intercultural communication and interested in exploring acute social withdrawal/hikikomori. She has 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. She is also Vice Director of The International Center at Tohoku University of Community Service and Science in Sakata City, Yamagata, North Japan. She is in charge of exchange programs for International students interested in Japanese culture. She has two wonderful boys both in their twenties and 2 wonderful (and funny) cats.

The photo on the right shows Maree giving a paper at the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Vancouver, March 2016. The topic of her paper was Hikikomori in Japan as a threat to public health.

Jazmin Turner

Scholarly Interests: human reproductive health, human growth and development, clinical medical anthropology, global health

Jazmin graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with a B.A. in Anthropology and Global Studies. After visiting Japan, she developed a strong interest in global health with a specific focus on human reproduction. Conducting research in this area and applying medical anthropology, she plans to to explore and address issues related to childbirth and stigma associated with it within the United States and around the globe.

Gretchen Walburn

Scholarly Interests: health impacts due to globalization, correlation between diet and disease, Mayan populations

Gretchen holds a BA in Anthropology from Ohio State University. Her undergraduate studies focused on biology, globalization, and Mayan cultures and societies. During her time traveling and living in Belize, Central America, she observed the impact of globalization on diet and health and became interested in exploring the correlation between globalization, society, culture and health, using a holistic approach. She want to conduct ethnographic and biometric research in Belize and to be part of educational health programs that aim at curbing the rise in diabetes, cancer and heart disease. She and her two children enjoy attending sporting events and traveling whenever they have free time.

Carleigh VanDetta-Smitherman

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

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.