|I'm an Adjunct
Professor in the Department of
Anthropology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada. I am also an Assistant professor of anthropology at the
University of Hawai'i at
Manoa. I specialize in medical and feminist anthropology, and do
research in Polynesia and Canada.
I am fascinated by different societies' systems for treating disease and suffering, and for producing professional healers and helpers. Many times, these systems which seem to be the same, are not, and their differences are both predicated by and act to replicate local aspects of culture, power and social structure. Thus I am very interested in the intersection between western biomedicine and modernity, both in Polynesia and in the Canadian North.
My current research in Polynesia focusses on Tongan medical physicians. This includes research in Fiji, where I have been examining the records from the Suva Medical School and the Central Medical School, the institutions which evolved into the Fiji School of Medicine. It has also included archival research in England, because some of the records from Tonga's past are housed in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Public Records Office archives there. I hope, eventually, to expand these insights from the Pacific, to the Canadian scene, and the experiences of Canadian indigenous physicians. The project is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Standard Research Grant. For more information on current research projects, please use this link.
My previous research in the Kingdom of Tonga examined the intersections of women's work, cultural constructions of health and mothers' child care practices. Surprisingly, a key aspect in the everyday construction of health is the production and gifting of women's 'cloth' wealth (shown as the background here).
In Canada, I have conducted research on perceptions of risk among sport fishers for Health Canada. I have also been an active proponent in the emergence of the newest primary health care profession, midwifery.
My applied work with the Midwifery Task Force in both Ontario and B.C., and my teaching experience in the Ontario Midwifery Education Programme lead to an appointment in 1997 to the executive of the first Board of the College of Midwives of B.C., which first began registering midwives in 1998.
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