UB's Ann McElroy Receives Major Award from Society for Applied Anthropology

Release Date: March 1, 2012

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Ann McElroy is the 2012 recipient of the Society for Applied Anthropology's Sol Tax Distinguished Service Award.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ann McElroy, PhD, associate professor of anthropology at the University at Buffalo, will receive the Society for Applied Anthropology's 2012 Sol Tax Distinguished Service Award in recognition of "long term and truly distinguished service to the Society."

The award, which will be presented during the 2012 Annual Meeting of the SfAA in Baltimore, Md., March 28-31, was established to honor the memory and career of Sol Tax, PhD, an internationally renowned University of Chicago anthropologist who organized anthropology as a global discipline and helped establish the field of "action anthropology," an approach in which researchers work to help solve social problems.

McElroy joined the UB faculty in 1971 as a specialist in psychological anthropology and arctic ethnology. Her research expanded to the emerging field of medical anthropology, and in 1979 she co-authored "Medical Anthropology in Ecological Perspective," now in its fifth edition.

With her fellow UB faculty members, McElroy developed a series of applied research and training programs, including Research Careers in Anthropology, an MS/PhD track in anthropology and social epidemiology, and an MA concentration in applied medical anthropology.

These programs have offered students opportunities for applied research on migrant farm worker health in Western New York, services for refugees and immigrants in inner city neighborhoods, the community integration of persons with traumatic brain injury, alternative childbirth management options, and study of gaps and needs in services to Niagara County families affected by trauma, grief and loss.

McElroy also served on the faculty advisory committee that helped established the Center for Disability Studies at UB, which now offers an interdisciplinary master's degree, and she is preparing for publication the text "Disability and Diversity: Anthropological Approaches to Impairment and Disability."

Her additional activities in applied anthropology include research on educational change in rural Iran, clinical training in geriatrics in southern Germany, participatory action research among farm labor activists in northern California and several years as consultant to childbirth reformers and midwifery advocates in Western New York.

McElroy's longitudinal research in Inuit communities includes work with elders in four Baffin Island communities, where she recorded their memories and narratives of encounters with missionaries, traders, teachers and other agents of change as children and youth in the 1920s and 1930s. This research is published in "Nunavut Generations: Change and Continuity in Baffin Island Inuit Communities" (Waveland Press Inc., 2008).

A member of the Society for Applied Anthropology since 1976 and a Sustaining Fellow since 2001, McElroy coordinated a health network as part of the SfAA Committee on Regional and Special Interest Groups and Affiliations, chaired the national organizing meeting of the Resource Group in Health and Anthropology, and co-organized and co-chaired the Health and Anthropology Network symposium, "Knowledge Utilization in the Health Policy Process." This symposium led to the publication of "Making Our Research Useful: Case Studies in the Utilization of Anthropological Knowledge" (1989).

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