This project seeks to ethnographically explore how undocumented status and other forms of social exclusion—race/ethnicity, gender, and nationality—work together to impede undocumented immigrants’ access to health in rural Maryland. This work advances theory of how the institutionalization of undocumented status, created by immigration policies, has contributed to the growing restriction of basic welfare benefits including health and social services and how it impacts the landscape of care in rural settings.
Social Determinants of HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infections among Latinos
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, 2009-2012
This research involved the use of rapid ethnographic assessments (REA), a qualitative method of data collection best used to assess quickly a variety of complex public health issues with the purpose of informing intervention and prevention programmatic needs, to address the social determinants of sexual health and HIV/sexually transmitted infection related disparities.
Projects included: (1) an REA addressing policy, economic, and social- level factors contributing to high HIV rates among Latino farmworkers in rural North Carolina, and (2) an REA addressing policy, economic, and social- level factors contributing to a congenital syphilis outbreak among Latina mothers in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Public Health Surveillance, HIV Prevention, and Haitians
Miami, Florida and Haiti, 2004-2008
This ethnographic study explored the “success” of HIV prevention campaigns targeting racial and ethnic minorities in clinical and public health settings in South Florida and their effects on the Haitian community in particular. Through this work, I documented how medical, epidemiological, and social constructions of HIV/AIDS risk fuse notions of pathology with racial and cultural differences. I also highlighted the specific problems facing diverse immigrant and ethnic populations, and revealed that Haitians strategically identify with various institutions and diseases in order to access critical resources.