Sociocultural dimensions of health care, organ transplantation, pain management, health disparities, qualitative methods
Megan Crowley-Matoka is an Assistant Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University. She earned her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine in 2001. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago in 2002, where she also held Visiting Researcher appointment in the Department of Anthropology. Upon completing her graduate training, she joined the faculty in the Departments of Medicine and Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, and also served as a core investigator in the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the VA Pittsburgh. After six years in Pittsburgh, she returned to the University of Chicago where she held a Visiting Faculty position in the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics before joining the Northwestern faculty in 2010. She teaches the social science and medicine curriculum in the MH&B masters program, and also teaches in the Feinberg School of Medicine curriculum, including co-directing the M1 Renal unit of the Health and Society curriculum, the M2 Profession of Medicine unit, and the M3 Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Medicine unit. As of Fall 2013, she will serve as the Director of Graduate Studies for the MH&B Master’s Program.
Her research interests are guided by an abiding interest in the messy entanglements of clinical uncertainty, biotechnology, medicalization, and shifting forms of subjectivity. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research on organ transplantation in Mexico, Spain and the US. Much of this work has explored the ways in which transplantation unsettles such core cultural categories as self and other, life and death, gift and commodity, and also provokes thorny questions of social justice and the distribution of scarce resources. Her research in transplantation has been supported by Fullbright, Social Science Research Council and University of California Regents fellowships, as well as by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, UC MexUS, and the Thomas Starzl Young Investigator’s Award. She has published this work in the social scientific, medical and ethics literatures, including Social Science and Medicine, American Journal of Transplantation, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Mortality and Kidney International. She is currently completing a book manuscript with Duke University Press on kidney transplantation in Mexico with the working title: Iconic Bodies: Imaginings of Self, State and Organ Transplantation in Mexico.
Her more recent research explores the political and moral economies surrounding pain management in American biomedicine, with a particular focus on the relationship between the ambivalent medicalization of pain and clinician subjectivity. This work has been supported by a career development and a Merit Review award from the VA Health Services Research program, as well as pilot funding from the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion. Initial findings from this ongoing research have been published in Cultural Anthropology, Pain, Journal of General Internal Medicine and Pain Medicine.
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