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Emily Mendenhall, PhD, MPH

Emily is a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Global Health at the Edmund A. Wash School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She is the founder of the Global Health Narratives Project and lead editor of Global Health Narratives, Environmental Health Narratives, and Community Health Narratives.  She also conducts research, teaches, and promotes understanding about why poverty makes you sick.  

Contact: em1061@georgetown.edu 



Adam Koon, PhD, MPH

Adam is a health policy specialist who works on USAID's Health Finance and Governance Project with Abt Associates.  He is the co-editor of Environmental Health Narratives and contributed multiple stories to the series.  He also conducts research on the politics of health finance in Kenya. 


Kathy Wollner, MD

Kathy is a primary care physician and deeply committed to improving health inequalities through her practice.  During medical school she initiated the first full scale piloting of Global Health Narratives with a program called United Health Force in Chicago, Illinois.  She also serves as co-editor of Community Health Narratives and contributed multiple chapters.  She has been a project leader in curriculum design.  



Hannah has been drawing small pictures all of her life.  She studied studio art at Bard College and runs a music-licensing company (Ghost Town, Inc) with her husband.  She illustrated all three books. 


Suzanne Farrell Smith

Suzanne’s story “In the Clear” appears in Environmental Health Narratives, and her stories “The Grove” and “Route 100” are included in Community Health Narratives. Suzanne is a Connecticut-based writer, editor, and teacher. Her work examines memory, trauma, health, education, and parenthood and has been published in numerous literary and scholarly journals.

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Lauren S Keenan-Devlin, PhD, MPH

Lauren contributed the chapter "crossing the food desert" to Environmental Health Narratives and the chapter "Seeking SUCCESS" to Community Health Narratives. She conducts research on stress and pregnancy outcomes, and promote breastfeeding among low income women through community-based programming. 


Ajay Pillarisetti, PHD, MPH

Ajay contributed two narratives – one to Global Health Narratives and another to Environmental Health Narratives – both focused on the impacts of air pollution on health. Ajay Pillarisetti is a postdoctoral fellow in Kirk R. Smith's research group at University of California, Berkeley. He works on measuring and modeling the impacts of household energy use on human health and the environment. He has created an easy-to-use suite of tools facilitating impact evaluation of household energy interventions for policymakers, NGOs, and program implementers.


Ashley K Hagaman, MPH PhD

Inspired by her fieldwork exploring mental health and suicide in rural Haiti, Ashley wrote a chapter about a young boy that must navigate helping his cousin that confides to him her struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Ashley completed her PhD from Arizona State University and her MPH from Emory University. She has researched mental health, health systems and suicide within various populations and contexts including Nepal, Haiti, and resettled refugees in the US. She has held fellowships from Fulbright, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before pursuing a career in research, Ashley helped build GlobeMed, a global health non-profit that engages university students in the movement for human rights and social justice.


Emily Lynch

Emily wrote the story "Shamsi and the Smokey Spirits" for the Environmental Health Narratives. Emily Lynch is a social and infectious disease epidemiologist currently working with Epicentre/Doctors Without Borders. She has been working in global health since 2007 and is also a photographer and writer. 


Sara Jewett Nieuwoudt

Sara wrote a chapter about the effect of climate change and the resulting rising sea levels on Vietnamese living in the Mekong Delta. She works as a lecturer in Social and Behaviour Change Communication in the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Public Health in Johannesburg, South Africa. She loves traveling and has lived and worked in South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Mexico, to name a few places.


Patrick Klacza

Patrick's stories are about growing up in the United States. He is an artist and radio disc jockey. He lives in Juneau, Alaska with his wife and daughter.

 Kenneth Maes

He co-authored (with Cari Williams-Maes) "The Marvelous City and the Garden of Refuse" for Environmental Health Narratives, and (with Gabriel Okpattah) "The Accident" for Global Health Narratives. Kenneth is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Oregon State University, and a medical anthropologist focusing on the experiences of low level workers in community health systems in Ethiopia, Oregon, and beyond.  He aims to understand and enhance diverse people's efforts to achieve environmental, social, and health justice.

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Kate Mendenhall

Contributing a story about an organic farmer, Kate Mendenhall is an organic farming advocate, working to ensure that organic farmers have the policies, education, and services they need to be thriving businesses and grow more healthy organic food for their communities.  She is a small farmer herself, transitioning her farm to certified organic.

Stephen Lavenberg

Stephen wrote “Scars” in Community Health Narratives to highlight the difficulties of accessing care for older people and for those whose culture and language are different than the place in which they live. Stephen enjoyed formative experiences in global health advocacy in Washington D.C. before leaving the US to work in public health in Uganda and Liberia. He is currently pursuing a masters in Health Management, Planning and Policy at the University of Leeds and looking forward to returning to the world of public health advocacy in low and middle income countries.

Bart Mihailovich

Bart felt compelled to contribute because it sounded like something he wishes was available or taught to me when he was younger. He was honored to play a small part in this wonderful project. Bart Mihailovich is a Missoula, MT resident who has made environmental advocacy and environmental journalism his life's work. He enjoys the great outdoors, live music, and adventures with his wife Sara and son Emmett. 

Melanie A. Medeiros

Melanie wrote a narrative on the relationship between the environment and the spread of malaria in West Africa, "Ibu Learns." She is a medical anthropologist and assistant professor of anthropology at SUNY Geneseo.

Andrew Tarter

Andrew Tarter contributed a narrative that links environmental degradation related to deforestation to adverse health outcomes in Haiti. Andrew Tarter is an anthropologist and social scientist that works at the nexus of agriculture and environment in Caribbean.

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Elizabeth Burpee

"Paola's Tijuana" is a story inspired by Elizabeth's time working alongside community health workers on the Mexico-U.S. border and touches on issues of environmental health, poverty, and local violence from the perspective of one family. Elizabeth grew up in Michigan but has lived in many places in the U.S., as well as in Ecuador and Mexico.  She studied public health and social work in graduate school and now lives, works, and sings in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Robert Koenig

Robert contributed "Black Water", a story set in a rural Himalayan village, illustrates the complexity and simplicity of safe water practices. Robert Koenig serves as Director and Treasurer of HeartMind International. He is a multiple Emmy nominated producer and director of films and television. He produced and directed the documentary film “Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal’s Maoist Army”, which won the prestigious Artivist Award for Child Advocacy for highlighting issues related to the reintegration of child soldiers in Nepal.

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Sara Lewis

Sara contributed a story called "Tenzin's Dream" in Community Health Narratives based on her ethnographic research that investigates trauma and resilience among Tibetan exiles. She is the Elisabeth Luce Moore Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion, Healing and Medicine at Wellesley College. She am an anthropologist of Medicine and Religion with a regional focus on Tibet and South Asia.

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Mark J. VanLandingham, PhD

Mark VanLandingham, PhD (IHD) is a demographer and sociologist who focuses on a wide array of topics related to public health. He currently leads projects focusing on the antecedents and consequences of largescale rural-to-urban migration within Southeast Asia; and acculturation, health, and well-being among Vietnamese immigrants in the United States.

Aunchalee Palmquist, MA, PhD, IBCLC

Aunchalee is the author of "The Old and the New" for Environmental Health Narratives, based on ethnographic research on the impact of migration on indigenous medical practices in Palau. She is also the co-author of "My Body, My Self", written with one of his students, exploring issues of teen pregnancy and infant feeding decisions for Community Health Narratives. She is a medical anthropologist and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Her research focus is critical biocultural contexts of breastfeeding and lactation disparities; global maternal and child health; and infant and young child feeding in emergencies

David Thoreson

David has been called “The Accidental Explorer” because he is a sailor from Iowa and ventured to the sea with a “salty” southern Minnesota farmer. As a young man, he chose outdoor photography as a profession. His love for the sea and the search for new images matched up perfectly with his dream to sail the world’s oceans. After all the years chasing the horizon and following his dream, David’s life was profoundly impacted as he became an eye-witness to a rapidly-changing Arctic and ocean environment. He is now an advocate for ocean and wilderness protection along with a more sustainable future for generations of explorers yet to come.

Heather Wurtz

Heather wrote a short story about a young woman's experience of attempting to manage her reproductive life in a country with highly restrictive abortion laws, as well as some of the social and economic consequences that often occur due to the inaccessibility of safe and legal abortion procedures. Heather is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences/Anthropology at Columbia University and a fellow in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. She is currently conducting ethnographic dissertation research along the southern Mexico border on the sexual and reproductive health of Central American migrant women.