Professor Emily Mendenhall is a medical anthropologist and Professor in the Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) Program and an Affiliate of African Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Prof. Mendenhall has published widely in anthropology, medicine, and public health and is the inaugural co-editor-in-chief of Social Science and Medicine—Mental Health. Prof. Mendenhall led a Series of articles on Syndemics in The Lancet in 2017 and has published several books, including Rethinking Diabetes: Entanglements with Trauma, Poverty, and HIV (2019), Syndemic Suffering: Social Distress, Depression, and Diabetes among Mexican Immigrant Women (2012), and Global Mental Health: Anthropological Perspectives (2015). In 2017, Dr. Mendenhall was awarded the George Foster Award for Practicing Medical Anthropology by the Society for Medical Anthropology.
Prof. Mendenhall’s newest book is forthcoming March 2022. Unmasked: COVID, Community, and the Case of Okoboji is a study of how people responded to COVID-19 in her hometown in northwest Iowa. Unmasked explores political priorities, cultural squabbles, and business interests that undermined public health efforts when no mandates were in place. Some of this research on how people perceived and experienced coronavirus in rural Iowa has been published in Vox as well as Social Science and Medicine and Global Public Health. Prof. Mendenhall also has ongoing research on syndemics in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she has worked for nearly a decade. She is the Principle Investigator of the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center study “Soweto Syndemics” at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she holds an honorary appointment.