Welcome new Co-Chairs!

Hello CAM/IM members and followers, please welcome our new co-chairs, Laura Meek and Jane Saffitz!

Laura and Jane are both finishing up doctoral programs in Anthropology at UC Davis, and Jane was the winner of our graduate student paper prize competition this year with her paper entitled, ““The work of good fortune”: extractive labor, practices of seeing, and “albino medicine” in


CAM/IM-related AAA 2018 panels and presentations

Emery has pulled together a list of panels and presentations at this year’s AAAs in San Jose that may be of interest to our SIG members. Hope to see you there!

From Emery:

Below is a list of panels and presentations of potential interest at the AAA annual meeting this year in San Jose. If you are attending, please join us for our open business meeting. We will be introducing candidates to take over leadership of the group and would like you to come, share your thoughts, and welcome the new chair.

Thursday 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM (3-0660) Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) Group (CAM/IM) Open Business (Community) Meeting: Society for Medical Anthropology

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2:15 PM – 4:00 PM (2-0280) Agency, Consciousness, and Medicine Part I

2:15 PM – 2:30 PM Conscious Grieving: Agency Constrained, Agency Transformed.

Greg Wright – University of Central Arkansas

2:30 PM – 2:45 PM Participation, Agency and Traditional Medicine.

el-Sayed el-Aswad – Independent Scholar

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM ‘I can’t say I am a recovering addict. I am recovered’: One Latina’s Testimony of Pentecostal Healing.

Michelle L. Ramirez – University of the Sciences

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM Agency and Consciousness in Eating-Disorders and Negative Body Image. Ruthie Flynn – Catholic University of America

3:15 PM – 3:30 PM Discussion.

Sydney Leigh Yeager – Southern Methodist University


4:30 PM – 6:15 PM (2-0515) Agency, Consciousness, and Medicine Part II

4:30 PM – 4:45 PM Reclaiming Agency through Acudetox: A Study of Auricular Acupuncture Treatments for Substance Abuse Disorders in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Sascha Goluboff – Washington & Lee University

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM Heroic Habit(u)s: Practices of Critical Consciousness in Emergency Medical Technicians.

Chuan Hao Chen – University of Pennsylvania

5:00 PM – 5:15 PM Big Pharma, Health Insurers and the Reconstruction of Clinical Autonomy.

Linda M. Hunt – Michigan State University

5:15 PM – 5:30 PM Childbirth and Conscious Decisions: Tuscany and the Rise of Agency as Non-Resistance.

Michaela Wallerstedt – Southern Methodist University


Thursday, November 15, 2018

8:00 AM – 9:45 AM        (3-0055) Changing Landscapes in Veterans’ Chronic Pain Management: Imagining and Implementing Integrative, Multi-modal, and Patient-Centered Care Approaches for Pain

8:00 AM – 8:15 AM    Integrated Pain Care at the San Francisco VA: Lessons From the Expansion of Interdisciplinary Biopsychosocial Care Approaches for Chronic Pain.

Kara A. Zamora – Veterans Health Administration

8:15 AM – 8:30 AM    Whole Health Chronic Pain Coaching in the VA: Successes and Challenges in What Comes Next.

Lauren S. Penney – South TX Veterans Health Care System / Univ of Texas Health San Antonio

8:30 AM – 8:45 AM    Novel Approaches to Pain Management in Veterans Using Agriculture.

Karen Besterman-Dahan – Department of Veterans Affairs

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM    Contextualizing chronic illness: A conceptual model synthesizing illness experience, organizational context, and therapeutic alliance.

Christopher J. Koenig – San Francisco State University

9:00 AM – 9:15 AM    “Changing the Conversation” About Health: Leveraging a Crisis to Reimagine the Role of Healthcare in the United States.

Justeen Kay Hyde – U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs


8:00 AM – 9:45 AM (3-0225) The New Age, Reconsidered: Science, Ontology, Healing, Epistemology


8:00 AM – 8:15 AM “Think like a mushroom”: the animistic play of amateur applied mycologists

Joanna Steinhardt – University of California, Santa Barbara

8:15 AM – 8:30 AM The New Age of Psychedelics: How might Carlos Castaneda’s ‘The Teachings of Don Juan’ be Received Today?

Patricia Kubala – UC Berkeley

8:30 AM – 8:45 AM Quantum Consciousness: A Scientific Spirituality

Christopher Cochran – University of California, Berkeley

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Remodelling Psychosis with Psychedelic Science in the New ‘New Age’

Tehseen Noorani – University of Durham

9:00 AM – 9:15 AMIs Chinese Medicine an Empirical Medicine?

Isaac Cohen – University of California, Berkeley

9:15 AM – 9:30 AM Discussion

Torang Asadi – Duke University


12:15 PM – 1:30 PM (3-0660) Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) Group (CAM/IM) Open Business (Community) Meeting: Society for Medical Anthropology


Sunday, November 18th, 2018

10:15AM – 12:00 PM (6-0435) The Work of Travel in the (New) Age of Spiritual Healing: Spiritualism, Gnosticism and the “White Shaman”

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM Travel Between Gnosticism and Shamanism in the New Age of Spiritualities: Toward a Comparative Framework of Analysis.

Quetzil E. Castaneda – OSEA

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM Social Justice Pilgrimages of Healing and Remembrance: Famine Walks in Ireland, Canada, and the USA

E Moore Quinn – College of Charleston

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM New Age Pilgrimage to Greece: (Re)Creating Ancient Spiritualities in a Contemporary Context

Jill Dubisch – Northern Arizona University

AAA 2018 updates and change in leadership

Hello members,

We are about two weeks away from our annual business meeting at the AAAs in San Jose and we wanted to send a couple updates.

  1. We are soliciting nominations for a new SIG chair or co-chairs that we will discuss and vote on during our business meeting. We have received two self-nominations so far (copied below). To nominate yourself or someone else, please provide a brief statement indicating your interest in leading the group, your research interests, and your ideas for keeping the SIG useful and supportive for researchers like yourself.
  2. Before the meetings we will send out a list of papers and panels that might be of interest to group members. To ensure we share your paper/panel, please send us the information as soon as possible.
  3. Our business meeting will be held Thursday, Nov 15th, from 12:15-1:30 PM. The session number is 3-0660. If you’re available, please consider attending – we’re only a community of practice to the degree that people show up and participate! We’ll also be voting on new leadership, so this is a good opportunity to have a say in the group’s future.

Emery and I have enjoyed our time leading the group and look forward to what new leadership will bring!




Nominations for the position of CAM/IM SIG Chair


Laura Meek

I am a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Davis, scheduled to graduate in June 2019. As Chair or Co-Chair of the CAM/IM Special Interest Group, I would start by taking an online poll of members to find out how you all would like to see the group develop in the coming years. My own ideas include: 1) sending out calls for CAM/IM sponsored panels at conferences; 2) highlighting student work in the field by posting short pieces by students on the site once a month, featuring a different person’s undergraduate/graduate research each time; 3) organizing mentoring events at conferences by pairing graduate students with professors to receive guidance on areas like grant writing and the job search; and 4) creating a resource on our website, where members can upload and share their course syllabi and film suggestions on topics related to CAM/IM. I would welcome any other ideas or suggestions from members, too! My own work explores the globalization of pharmaceuticals in East Africa, embodiment and bodily epistemologies, and the ethics of healing. I conducted two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania, examining how pharmaceuticals were used and understood by people in their everyday lives. In my dissertation, I frame my interlocutors’ engagement with pharmaceuticals as a form of healing—involving the re/creating of right social relationships—and contrast this with a biomedical emphasis on curing—which locates the efficacy of medicines in their chemical properties, rather than in the contexts and circumstances of their use. Additional areas of research interest include counterfeits & other “fakes”; the history of medicine and healing across the Indian Ocean world; methods as theory; bodies, experimentation, and practices of dreaming.

Jane Saffitz

My research explores the emergence of a medico-legal humanitarian category—“albinism”—that has come to the fore of debates in Tanzania about truth, knowledge, and the future. Yet, albinism is unstable, and there are myriad ways of knowing light skin. These include using their body parts in medicine to access an invisible realm and catalyze socio-bodily transformation. Debates about the onto-epistemic status of people with light skin seem urgent, given recent murders. This violence is reportedly motivated by an illicit speculative economy for these body parts led by traditional healers and laborers in extractive industries. It has also given rise to a transnational movement for “albinism rights.” While NGOs, scientists, and journalists claim that violence emerges from deeply-held “occult beliefs” and a lack of knowledge that light skin is albinism, healers and their patrons point to a Euro-American fixation with albinism, and suggest that the state, NGOs, and media are creating the violence they claim only to describe. This project is an ethnography of disparate material-discursive practices surrounding albinism and its excesses. I argue that these practices cannot be separated as violent or humanitarian, spiritual or scientific, inscrutable or enlightening. Indeed their import lies in their ability to destabilize these very categories.

My interests in CAM/IM stem from the productive problems of thinking about albino body parts as a kind of medicine for others’ use. Facilitating a broader network of scholars thinking similarly and differently about what medicine is—and what it can be and do—stands to deepen my work, and that of others. When conducting fieldwork, I was forced to confront my inability to know dawa, a Swahili category that is usually translated as medicine, but is perhaps better thought of as a powerful, transformative substance or technology. What would it mean to think dawa with scholars who work in labs, morgues, and hospitals, across continents and with different logics? How might dawa, or sowa rigpa in Tibet (Craig 2012) transform their work?

I am motivated to chair the CAM/IM Interest Group not only because of this potential for cross-fertilization, but also because of the possibilities for mentorship and professional and interpersonal growth. I envision mentorship programs that not only pair ABD graduate students with professors, but also pair pre-field graduate students with those who are ABD. Through virtual conferences and coffee breaks on Facebook live, I envision lively, and sometimes short discussions, about newly published work, as well as work in progress. Lastly, I anticipate collectively brainstorming how CAM/IM can engage politically through our work. Whether advocating for the existence of trans and intersex individuals or asking how medical anthropology can serve migrants at the southern border, I would aim to increase our presence as a force for change at the intersections of health, medicine, and social justice.

Deadline Extended: Restorative Medicine Conference 2018 Call for Abstracts

There’s still time! The deadline has been extended for the Research Poster Abstract Submission Form application- it is now June 15th. We look forward to your submission!

The 2018 Restorative Medicine Conference will be held September 27-30 in Burlington, Vermont.  The conference theme is Trends in Nutrition, Pain Management and Mind/Body Therapies. 

The AARM Research Posters Committee will evaluate poster presentations and posters during the conference, and select one winner in each of four categories: Nutrition and Nutrigenomics;  PhytocompoundsNeurobiology and Pain; and Mind-Body Medicine.

Each AARM Research Poster Award winner will receive a cash prize of $150 and a certificate.

Please consider submitting a research poster yourself, and kindly forward this email to any student or post-doctoral investigators you think might be interested. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.





Please tell your graduate students and colleagues working in CAM/IM and related subjects to submit their papers by July 1st!

The Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology invites submissions of graduate student authored papers in the Anthropology of CAM or IM. Papers should relate to the study of CAM/IM and preferably engage interest group members’ core concerns with the ways in which healing encounters foreground profound questions of power, culture, and epistemology.

The CAM/IM special interest group was organized in 2006 to encourage the anthropological study of CAM and IM as emergent socio-medical phenomena having global ramifications in the 21st century. Our members recognize CAM/IM as inclusive of contemporary examples of medical pluralism broadly defined, as influenced by processes of globalization and hybridization, scientization and commodification.

The author of the winning paper will receive a cash award of $100 and her or his name will be announced in Anthropology News and at the Society for Medical Anthropology business meeting at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November. Qualifying submissions will be judged by a committee of CAM/IM SIG members. Submissions from all anthropological sub-disciplines are encouraged.


  • Primary or first author must be a graduate student at time of submission
  • Preferably based on original fieldwork and data, but can be theoretical
  • Must have been written in the past 24 months
  • May be unpublished or submitted for publication at the time of submission
  • Maximum of 8,000 words, not including references.


  • Relevance to the CAM/IM SIG statement of purpose (above)
  • Originality of fieldwork and data
  • Richness of substantive or evidentiary materials
  • Clarity of anthropological methods
  • Effective use of theory and/or data
  • Organization, quality of writing, and coherence of argument


  • Please do not include your name or any identifying information in the paper itself
  • Provide a separate cover sheet that includes your name, mailing address, email address, and school affiliation
  • Papers must be double-spaced and in PDF format (please include page numbers)
  • References should be formatted in the American Anthropological Association style
  • Please submit an electronic copy to Emery Eaves: emery [dot] eaves [at] nau [dot] edu
  • Submissions must be received by 5:00PM EST, July 1, 2018 for full consideration

Questions may be directed to the comments page on this website.

We look forward to your submissions!

Thank you to our presenters!

We had a great panel last week at the Society for Applied Anthropology Meetings! Thank you to our presenters: Darrel Manitowabi, Tim Ominika, Jennifer Rioux, and Peter Kundstadter, and to our discussant: Cheryl Ritenbaugh.

Sustainable Solutions: The Role of Complementary, Integrative, and Traditional Medicines in Addressing Contemporary Health and Social Issues (SMA)



  • MANITOWABI, Darrel (Laurentian U), MAAR, Marion (N Ontario Sch of Med), and -OMINIKA, Tim (Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory) Naandwe Miikan (The Curing Path): An Indigenous Holistic Model Addressing Opioid Addictions and Recovery
  • EAVES, Emery, PHILLIPS, Cora M., and BALDWIN, Julie A. (NAU) Traditional and Non-Pharmacologic Treatment Options for Chronic Pain and Opioid Overdose: Progress Update on the Inspire Project
  • RIOUX, Jennifer (ACIH) Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Therapy as Sustainable Solutions to Chronic Pain Syndromes
  • KUNSTADTER, Peter (Prog for HIV Prev & Treatment) Persistence of Multiple Sources of Health Care under Universal Health Insurance in Multi-Ethnic Northwestern Thailand


Updates and Plans for 2018

Hello CAM/IM members. We had a relatively productive meeting at the AAA this year, although there were few attendees to our business meeting so we do not have official minutes to share. Impressions from graduate students we have talked to have told us last year and this year that the name of the SIG is not capturing the audience we are hoping for and our conversation about a more current name is ongoing. I visited panels with CAM/IM related topics and invited them to the business meeting as well as to the brunch we hosted on Saturday morning, which gathered a few more interested people who helped us strategize future directions for keeping the group current and vibrant.

One idea that came up was to host a knowledge exchange the day before the AAA meeting next year. Some of the other SIGs have successfully hosted these and found them productive. They require a considerable amount of planning, however, so we would need some committed members who would be interested in spearheading such a major effort, as well as interest and commitment to attend from a larger group of you. If you would be interested in organizing such an event, or would like to express interest in attending should we decide to organize this, please use the contact form on our website, send an email to me or Lauren, or send a message through the group’s facebook page.

Either way, we plan to organize a panel for next year’s AAA meeting Wednesday, November 14 – Sunday, November 18 in San Jose, CA. The 2018 Annual Meeting theme is Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation. Attendees this year suggested a panel focused on asking larger questions to show how CAM and IM are relevant to many research topics and to the discipline more broadly. The theme next year aligns well with this goal. It would be nice to engage CAM/IM related topics that have potential to draw a larger audience. If anyone would like to volunteer to help organize a panel or two for the next meeting, please get in touch with us.

We are also excited to promote a panel we organized for the Society for Applied Anthropology Meeting this year in Philadelphia. If you wi

ll be attending the meeting in Philadelphia, please join us for what we expect to be a very engaging panel:

Sustainable Solutions: The Role of Complementary, Integrative, and Traditional Medicines in Addressing Contemporary Health and Social Issues (SMA) WEDNESDAY 12:00-1:20



  • MANITOWABI, Darrel (Laurentian U), MAAR, Marion (N Ontario Sch of Med), and -OMINIKA, Tim (Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory) Naandwe Miikan (The Curing Path): An Indigenous Holistic Model Addressing Opioid Addictions and Recovery
  • EAVES, Emery, PHILLIPS, Cora M., and BALDWIN, Julie A. (NAU) Traditional and Non-Pharmacologic Treatment Options for Chronic Pain and Opioid Overdose: Progress Update on the Inspire Project
  • RIOUX, Jennifer (ACIH) Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Therapy as Sustainable Solutions to Chronic Pain Syndromes
  • KUNSTADTER, Peter (Prog for HIV Prev & Treatment) Persistence of Multiple Sources of Health Care under Universal Health Insurance in Multi-Ethnic Northwestern Thailand




CAM/IM Events of Interest at AAAs

Hello CAM/IM members and followers, below is a list of events and panels you may be interested in at the AAAs this week in Washington, DC. Please note our open business meeting and an informal brunch we are hosting on Saturday. We have a limited amount of funds to provide some refreshments for the brunch and we hope it will be an opportunity for more discussion. If you have students or colleagues who are interested in CAM/IM or related topics, please invite them!

Friday, December 1st

10:15 AM – 12:00 PM (4-0435) Examining Traditional and Alternative Medicines

Stevie Merino – California State University, Long Beach; Mary Elizabeth Bird – Rutgers University; Kayla Jean Hurd – University of Notre Dame; Daria Trentini – Drake University; Kealoha Fox – Office of Hawaiian Affairs & University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine ; Szilvia Zorgo – Semmelweis University; Stevie Merino – California State University, Long Beach


10:15 AM – 10:30 AM Transforming Maternity: Exploring Selective Utilization of Prenatal HIV Testing in Lesotho

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM Phobia or Medical Food? Analyzing the nutritional quality of edible insects for the greater good

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM “We are going to change their mentality”: Assimilating Traditional Healers into Public Health in Nampula city, northern Mozambique

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Nā Ma’i Kama’āina ma Ka ‘Oihana Mauli Ola: Understanding the Traditional Hawaiian Health Structure and Indigenous Perceptions of Imbalance as Illness

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM Bodily sensations within the context of alternative medicine: Embodied perception in the therapeutic process

11:30 AM – 11:45 AM Creating a Space to Call Their Own: Birth Workers of Color and Traditional Knowledge in Los Angeles County.

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM (4-0705) CAM/IM OPEN BUSINESS MEETING Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Integrative Medicine Group Open Business (Community) Meeting – All are welcome!

Saturday, December 2

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM Informal Brunch hosted by CAM/IM – please come and tell your students to attend! Meet at Open City Café http://www.opencitydc.com/

10:15 AM – 12:00 PM (5-0510) Understanding holistic healing: case studies of medical pluralism throughout Africa

Kristin Hedges – Grand Valley State University; Kristin Hedges – Grand Valley State University; Kristin Hedges – Grand Valley State University; David S. Turkon – Ithaca College; Ellen Block – College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University; Suzanne M. Leclerc-Madlala – US Agency for International Development; Mary J. Hallin – University of Nebraska, Omaha; Ama Boakyewa – Paradise Valley Community College; Robert J. Thornton – University of the Witwatersrand


10:15 AM – 12:00 PM Living well: Pluralistic treatment seeking in highland Lesotho

10:15 AM – 12:00 PM Traditional Healers in Mokhotlong Lesotho in the Early 1990s: Agents of Globalization and Tradition

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Traditional healers in the African AIDS response—A lost opportunity?

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Medical Pluralism:  Collaborating with Traditional Healers

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM Breast Cancer Management in Ghana: An Approach for Medical Pluralism

11:30 AM – 11:45 AM Medical Pluralism in Maasailand

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM Discussion


Sunday, December 3rd

(6-0100) Traditional peoples’ health in a changing political landscape: Social action, movements, and policy in Brazil

8:00 AM – 9:45 AM

Organizer(s): James Welch, Researcher, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz

Ricardo Santos, Professor, Museu Nacional/ UFRJ

Chair/Roundtable Introducer(s): James Welch, Researcher, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz

Ricardo Santos, Professor, Museu Nacional/ UFRJ

Presenter(s): Barbara Piperata, Ohio State University; Carlos Coimbra, Jr., Professor, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz; Esther Jean Langdon, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina; Ricardo Santos, Professor, Museu Nacional/ UFRJ

Discussant(s): James Welch, Researcher, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz & LaShandra Sullivan, Reed College

CFP: SfAA 2018, Philadelphia, PA

Hello CAM/IM members, We are looking forward to seeing those of you who will be attending the AAA meeting in DC this November. CAM/IM would like to host a brunch meeting in addition to our open business meeting on Saturday morning, December 2nd, location TBA. We will provide refreshments to try to attract graduate students and others interested in our topic in a less formal setting. Once we have decided on a location I’ll send out an update. Please forward to students who might be interested and also join us yourselves if you’ll be there!

On another note, we are organizing a panel for the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. We have a series of excellent papers lined up so far and a wonderful discussant. If you would like to be part of the panel, we have room for one more paper. The current draft of the panel abstract is below. Please send me your 100 word abstract by October 12th as submissions are due October 15th. Lauren and I look forward to continuing to build this community!

Sustainable solutions: The role of complementary, integrative, and traditional medicines in addressing contemporary health and social issues

Biomedical solutions to complex health problems are often partial, and create as many problems as they solve. This panel, sponsored by the Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Integrative Medicine Special Interest Group, explores the role of Complementary, Integrative, and Traditional medicine in providing sustainable, humane, and person-centered care. Papers discuss engagement in traditional medicine to address pain and opioid use on Tribal lands; Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga therapy to mitigate the need for pharmaceuticals; implementation of integrated care in the VA; and persistence of traditional and market medicines in Thailand even in the context of universal healthcare.


Letter from the Editor of JACM

Many of you might have received this letter from the editor of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) in an email already. Apologies for any duplication. I’m sharing it here in case anyone is interested and didn’t receive it. I you’re not familiar with it, JACM may be an option to explore for publishing your CAM/IM related research.

JACM Letter from the Editor