Dr. Linda Hunt retired from the Department this spring after a remarkable career specializing in medical anthropology. Dr. Hunt attributes her early interest in anthropology to growing up in an eclectic household, with a Mexican catholic mother and New York Jewish father in an Irish-catholic neighborhood. With the diverse perspectives and realities surrounding her, she was always interested in understanding the conflicts and resolutions this fomented. After studying anthropology at Wayne State University, Dr. Hunt earned her PhD from Harvard University in 1992. Dr. Hunt joined the MSU Department of Anthropology in 1999 and attained Full Professor status in 2008.
Dr. Hunt’s research interests are rooted in the study of clinical medicine and healthcare delivery for racial/ethnic minorities. With numerous research projects in the U.S. and Mexico, Dr. Hunt’s work has covered topics including the culture of biomedicine, racial-ethnic health disparities, concepts of race and ethnicity in the health sciences, and corporatization of medicine. She became interested in these research foci while working in various medical research settings, where she saw the ways cultural constructions and market forces manifest themselves in what was assumed to be a scientifically neutral area. Much of Dr. Hunt’s research has examined the ways that health researchers and clinicians view minority populations, particularly how assumptions about the ways cultural and biological difference are manifest in clinical practice, professional training, research agendas, and health policy.
One area of accomplishment in Dr. Hunt’s outstanding career has been her great success in securing grants for her various research projects. Dr. Hunt was consistently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other public agencies over her career. Many of her large grants allowed her to employ numerous graduate assistants, and to collaborate with various faculty members. Dr. Hunt’s dedication to disseminate her research is evident in her prolific publication and presentation record. Over her career, Dr. Hunt has published nearly 70 articles, chapters, and reports, presented over 70 papers at professional conferences, and discussed her work in over 50 invited lectures worldwide.
Throughout her publishing activity, Dr. Hunt has always been committed to sharing her research in diverse venues in order to address medical and public health audiences. In doing so, thousands of practitioners outside the field of anthropology have accessed Dr. Hunt’s extensively cited research on genetic risk, cancer patient experience, chronic illness management, and health care reform. With her varied publications and collaborations, Dr. Hunt is regarded as a highly influential proponent for the value of anthropological perspectives in biomedical research and clinical practice. This extension of anthropology into the health sciences has helped advance the field of medical anthropology.
In reflecting on what she has enjoyed most during her career, Dr. Hunt recounts working with graduate students and teaching graduate courses, especially Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology. Dr. Hunt’s role as an extraordinary mentor is appreciated by students and colleagues, as she has constantly provided opportunities for collaboration and helped lay foundation for her students’ successful careers. Dr. Hunt is grateful to have had the opportunity to conduct a series of research projects that she felt would address socially important issues in a critical and productive fashion.
As an outdoor enthusiast, Dr. Hunt is looking forward to plenty of canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, skiing, and camping in her retirement. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Hunt and thanking her for her profound and far-reaching contributions as professor, mentor, scholar, and advocate.
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