Sandy Smith-Nonini

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 1998, M.A. 1993, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Anthropology)
Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies

Research interests:
Engaged research, health rights, community-based health, professional knowledge, occupational health, sustainability, farmworkers, El Salvador.

Research Conducted and Current Projects:

During 2006-07 I am working on a book project, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, which is based in part on my dissertation research – a study of struggles for health reform in El Salvador during and after that country’s civil war. This project also draws on my prior experience in the country as a journalist and health rights monitor during the war. It will also include more recent research on urban activism led by health workers protesting efforts to privatize portions of the public health system in 2000-02.

From 1998 to the present I have been conducting research on Latino farmworkers in North Carolina, and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s successful campaign to organize the state’s H2A farmworkers. I also did a short research project in 2000 on the occupational health risks of Latino meatpacking workers in Duplin County, N.C.

In 1999, while based at Emory University, I did a post-doctoral research project on responses by public health institutions to drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemics in Lima, Peru and New York City.

Prior to attending graduate school I worked for 10 years as a journalist. This included 4 years of work as a medical reporter in Washington, D.C., and two years (1987-89) during which I worked free lance from El Salvador for U.S. newspapers, including The San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News and the New York Times. In 1990, I worked for a year as an investigative reporter with Southern Exposure magazine.

Courses taught:

Prior courses taught include: human dilemmas of globalization, comparative healing systems, culture and health, Latin American social movements, environmental activism & society, development and inequality in Latin America, ethnography, introduction to anthropology, human evolution, anthropology through science fiction, Aboriginal Australia (study abroad).

Academic Awards

2005 Listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers
2005 Excellence in Teaching Award, Elon University Panhellenic Council.
1998 Manning Prize, UNC Dept. of Anthropology.
1997 Steven Polgar Prize, UNC Dept. of Anthropology.
1996 Finalist, Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, UNC, Chapel Hill.
1995 Peter K. New Prize, Society for Applied Anthropology.

Selected Publications:
2005 When “The Program is Good but the Disease is Better”: Lessons from Peru on Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, Medical Anthropology; Vol. 24 No. 3: 265-296.

2005 Federally-sponsored Mexican Migrants in the Transnational South. Chapter in The American South in a Global World, edited by James L. Peacock, Harry L. Watson and Carrie R. Matthews. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

2004 The Cultural Politics of Institutional Responses to Resurgent Tuberculosis Epidemics: New York City and Lima, Peru. Chapter in Emerging Illnesses and Society: Defining the Public Health. edited by Randall M. Packard, Peter J. Brown, Ruth L. Berkelman, and Howard Frumkin. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

2003 Back to “The Jungle:”Processing Migrants in North Carolina’s Meatpacking Plants. Anthropology of Work Review Vol. XXIV, Numbers 3-4 Fall/Winter.

2002 Nadie Sabe, Nadie Supo: El programa Federal H2A y la Explotación de Mano de Obra Mediada por el Estado. Relaciones: Estudios de Historia y Sociedad 90 Vol. XXIII Spring.

2001 Anger, Empowerment, Action. Chapter in Understanding the Global Experience Edited by Tom Arcaro. Elon University -CD-ROM textbook. Online version:

2000 The Smoke and Mirrors of Health Reform in El Salvador: Community Health NGOs and the Not-So-Neoliberal State. Chapter 14 in Dying for Growth: Global Restructuring and the Health of the Poor. Edited by Jim Y. Kim, Joyce V. Millen, Alec Irwin and John Gershman, Common Courage Press, pp. 359-81.

1999 Uprooting Injustice: A Report on Working Conditions for North Carolina Farmworkers and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s Mt. Olive Initiative. Bilingual report of the Institute for Southern Studies.

1998 Health `Anti-Reform’ in El Salvador: Community Health NGOs and the State in the Neoliberal Era Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR) Vol. 21(1): 99-111

1997 “Popular” Health and the State: Dialectics of the Peace Process in El Salvador. Social Science & Medicine 44(5): 635-45.

1997 Primary Health Care and its Unfulfilled Promise of Community Participation: Lessons from a Salvadoran War Zone. Human Organization 56(3): 364-74. (An earlier version this article won the 1995 Peter K. New Prize).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *