Emily Mendenhall, PhD, MPH

Posted in Affiliates

Dr. Emily Mendenhall is the Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor in the Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She joined SFS in 2013; previously she was a visiting Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, National Institutes of Health Fogarty Scholar at the Public Health Foundation of India, and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she still holds an Honorary Appointment. Dr. Mendenhall received a PhD in anthropology from Northwestern University and MPH from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and two daughters.

Dr. Mendenhall’s recent book, Rethinking Diabetes: Entanglements with Trauma, Poverty, and HIV (2019, Cornell) involves hundreds of life history among low-income people living with Type 2 Diabetes in Chicago, Delhi, Johannesburg, and Nairobi.  The four case studies investigate how social, cultural, and epidemiological factors shape people’s experiences and why we need to take these differences seriously when thinking about what drives diabetes and how it affects the lives of the poor. She is also the author of Syndemic Suffering: Social Distress, Depression, and Diabetes among Mexican Immigrant Women (2012) and co-editor of Global Mental Health: Anthropological Perspectives (2015). Dr. Mendenhall has published more than 70 articles and book chapters in top journals in anthropology, medicine, and public health. In 2017 she led a Series of articles on Syndemics in The Lancet. In 2017, Dr. Mendenhall was awarded the George Foster Award for Practicing Medical Anthropology by the Society for Medical Anthropology.

Dr. Mendenhall has worked with colleagues at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, since 2012, and serves as Honorary Faculty in the Faculty of Health Sciences. She also runs a NIH Fogarty International Center study “Soweto Syndemics,” which is the first population-level study of any syndemic, moving from ethnography to epidemiology. She often mentors PhD students at Wits so please reach out if you are interested in doing your PhD with Dr. Mendenhall at Wits, or collaborating in some other way. Previously, the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center, South African Medical Research Council, and Northwestern and Georgetown Universities have supported her scholarship. She also spent a decade creating global health curriculum for youth: www.GHN4C.org.