By BILL BRUTON
Published March 16, 2023
Noted medical anthropologist Linda S. Kahn, has been named a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA).
SfAA was founded in 1941 to advocate for applying the social sciences to contemporary problems. The election to fellow status is based on demonstrated advanced competence in research and/or application of behavioral science in contemporary societies.
Kahn, professor and associate vice chair for research for the Primary Care Research Institute in the Department of Family Medicine, has studied a multitude of diseases — from depression to diabetes to chronic kidney disease, heart disease and substance use — in her 19 years working as an anthropologist in family medicine.
“For two decades, my ‘research laboratory’ has consisted of the community setting, medical practices and recently the drug treatment courts. Multidisciplinary research — incorporating diverse teams — is central to my work,” Kahn says.
Her nomination was approved unanimously by the board of the SfAA.
Kahn is grateful for the honor.
“Medical anthropology is a dynamic, diverse subfield of anthropology spanning many topics, from traditional healing practices to patient responses to biomedicine,” Kahn explains. “As an applied medical anthropologist, my research examines how social, economic and cultural factors affect the well-being of individuals, families and communities — especially people living with complex medical conditions, substance use and mental illness.
“Through in-depth interviewing and ethnography — key anthropological tools — I learn how people cope with substance use, chronic illnesses, their understandings of disease, their treatment experiences, reasons why they may discontinue a medication or therapy, their problems accessing health care, their worries — and accounts of their families and support systems. Findings are shared with physician colleagues to help improve patient care and reduce health disparities.”
Kahn earned her doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
The election to SfAA fellow status is based on demonstrated advanced competence in research and/or application of behavioral science in contemporary societies. This competence may be demonstrated by having been trained in the field of anthropology or other social sciences, or in related fields, or by professional experience.