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Anthropology | Graduate Research and Training in Psychological/Medical Anthropology

The anthropology department has recently developed a new focus on research/training in psychological and medical anthropology.  Our research group investigates psychological, medical, and biosocial aspects of the human condition from a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches.  Faculty research covers multiple interrelated areas, indicated below. We are seeking graduate students to train and with whom to pursue research in these areas. Students should apply to the Cultural or Evolutionary program depending which best aligns with their research interests.  Our record of support for graduate students last year was 100%. To learn about about our faculty members, please click on their names below.

  • anthropological demography and epidemiology
  • attachment
  • cognitive anthropology
  • cultural and cross-cultural psychology
  • ethnomedicine
  • family and child health
  • global health disparities
  • infectious disease
  • medical ethnobotany
  • mental health
  • parental care and child development
  • personality
  • religion and ritual
  • the self and power
  • social learning
  • substance abuse
  • suicide

Dr. Julia Cassaniti works on the cultural constructions of psychological mechanisms, specifically on the relationships between ontology and psychology and their expression in everyday practice. Her focus is on local constructions of Buddhist, Christian, and other spiritual systems as guides in cognitive and emotional processing.

Dr. Edward Hagen studies child growth and development, addiction, depression, suicide and deliberate self-harm.

Dr. Barry Hewlett – (Emeritus) studies infancy and childhood, cultural psychology, infectious disease, child development and social learning, and parent-child relations.

Dr. Courtney Meehan investigates biocultural and psychological dimensions od child development with special focus on parental and non-parental investment, family organization, and child health.

Dr. Caroline Owens examines global health disparities, focusing on biocultural dimensions of structural inequalities, resource insecurity, and human well-being.

Dr. Marsha Bogar Quinlan works in the areas of family health, ethnomedicine, and ethnobotany, with particular focus on cultural affects on health and medical care and emic notions of health and illness.

Dr. Rob Quinlan research areas include cross-cultural psychology, medical anthropology, and anthropological demography. He is specifically interested in biocultural aspects of human reproduction, family environment, child well-being and development.


The program currently offers seminars in:

  • Biocultural Aspects of Mortality
  • Cultural Psychology and Psychiatry
  • Epidemiology
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Morbidity

We are developing seminars in:

  • Biocultural and Psychological Approaches to Childcare
  • Culture and Mental Health
  • Darwinian Medicine
  • Ethnomedicine
  • Social-emotional Child and Adolescent Development

For answers to any questions not covered in these pages please email, call or write to us:

Main Office Information:

College Hall 150
PO Box 644910
Pullman, WA 99164-4910
Phone: 509.335.3441
FAX: 509.335.3999