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Seminar: Negotiating Cancer and Structural Vulnerability

Julie Armin, PhD, a sociocultural/medical anthropologist, is a new Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Her research focuses on the reproduction of inequality in the United States and its effects on health, and particularly on cancer care. Her previous research has centered on insurance status and access to cancer treatment; current interests include the effects of the Affordable Care Act on access to cancer care for low-income patients, barriers to PCP-centered survivorship care, and advance care planning for people living with cancer.

In the United States, concern about breast cancer mortality has generated policies and programs aimed at increasing screening mammography and treatment access for the uninsured and underinsured. Oriented toward the importance of early detection and the state's responsibility to ensure health care access, these policies and programs intersect with other practices of population management, such as immigration policy, and the norms and assumptions of market-based health care. Using breast cancer care for structurally vulnerable women as a focal point, Dr. Armin examines the social effects of these intersecting ethical frameworks. Based on 18 months of ethnographic field work in Southern Arizona, she reports findings from interviews with physicians, nurses, advocates, clinic office staff, and community health workers; from recurring discussions with uninsured and publicly insured women undergoing treatment for breast cancer; and from participant-observation in cancer-focused events and activities. In this presentation, Dr. Armin explores how programs that extend low-cost or free health care to broad populations reproduce social exclusion.

Learning Objectives

  • Familiarity with the concept of structural vulnerability
  • Identify the work of illness management and examine the distribution of this responsibility in the U.S.
  • Interpret the effects of policies and programs using the lens of social reproduction

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Event Details

Event Date:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 12:00 pm to 12:50 pm

Event Location:

Drachman A114

Contact Person:

Karen O’Shaughnessy
(520) 626-4912

The University of Arizona