Rudolf Virchow Award

The Rudolf Virchow Awards are annual American awards in anthropology.

About the Award

The Rudolf Virchow Awards are given by the Critical Anthropology for Global Health Study Group, a special interest group of Society for Medical Anthropology. The professional award honors an article and the graduate and undergraduate student awards, a paper written in the spirit of Rudolf Virchow, that is deemed by the judges to best reflect, extend or advance critical perspectives in medical anthropology. These are materialist approaches that emphasize the social and political economic nature of health, disease and healing, and which embrace both micro and macro perspectives.

Rudolf Virchow, a German physician writing during the 1800s, was a key founder of social medicine. In addition to writing in the areas of anthropology and medical science, his contributions to social medicine centered on his recognition of the multiple interacting factors, particularly social factors, that produce disease and illness. He argued that the difficult circumstances and deprivations of the working class increase susceptibility to disease as well as to higher mortality rates. Virchow also recognized the political and material circumstances that inhibited disease prevention efforts and viewed advocacy as an essential part of medical research. He was perhaps most articulate about the limitations of medical science to improving health in the absence of material security. Virchow viewed the state as responsible for providing that security through employment of those who could work. His appreciation for the complex relationship among health, medicine and society are remembered in his statement, “Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing more than medicine in larger scale”.

Criteria and Eligibility

The professional award is given annually for an article, singly or co-authored, and published during the previous year in either a peer reviewed journal (either a print or on-line journal) or an edited volume. This prize will be given to professionals, or to graduate students who have singly or co-authored the published their work.

The graduate student award will be granted to a paper that was written in the prize year or the preceding year and that has not been subjected to the process of editorial review. Papers that have been submitted to a journal or edited volume, but that have not yet benefited from review, may be included in this category. Theses and dissertations cannot be accepted. However, a summary of a thesis or a dissertation (no greater than about 30 pages) that can stand on its own, or a chapter that has been revised and can also stand on its own, will be considered for this award. Papers from students who have graduated after the paper was written will still be accepted under this category. Only papers, not interactive media, will be considered for this award.

The undergraduate student award will be given to a paper that was written the prize year or the preceding year while the student was still an undergraduate. Theses will not be accepted. However, a shortened version (up to about 30 pages) of the thesis (or a chapter from the thesis) that has been revised to stand on its own will be considered for this award. Only papers, not interactive media, will be considered at this time.

Past Winners

  • 2016 - Graduate Prize: Thando Malambo
  • 2016 - Undergraduate Prize: Maggie Acosta
  • 2015 - Professional Award: Fouzieyha Towghi
  • 2015 - Graduate Prize: Sarah Raskin
  • 2015 - Undergraduate Prize: Naomi Zucker
  • 2014 - Professional Award: Stacy Leigh Pigg
  • 2014 - Graduate Prize: Kimberly Sue
  • 2014 - Undergraduate Prize: Savannah Harshbarger
  • 2013 - Professional Award: Susan Erikson - "Global Health Business"
  • 2013 - Graduate Prize: Bo Kyeong Seo; Rachel Irwin
  • 2012 - Professional Award: Sarah Willen
  • 2012 - Graduate Prize: Nora J Kenworthy
  • 2012 - Undergraduate Prize: Victor Koski Karell
  • 2011 - Undergraduate Prize: Claire M. Wagner
  • 2011 - Professional Award: Sharon Abramowitz - "Trauma and Humanitarian Translation in Liberia: The Tale of Open Mole"
  • 2010 - Graduate Prize: Emily Yates-Doerr "The Opacity of Reduction: Nutritional Black-Boxing and the Meanings of Nourishment."
  • 2009 - Professional Award: Sherine Hamdy
  • 2009 - Graduate Prize: Serena Stein
  • 2009 - Undergraduate Prize: Ari Samsky
  • 2008 - Professional Award: Joao Biehl
  • 2008 - Graduate Prize: Ippolytos Kalofonos - " 'All I Eat is ARVs': Paradoxes of AIDS Treatment Programs in Central Mozambique"
  • 2007 - Professional Award: Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg - “Intimate Apartheid: Ethnic Dimensions of Habitus among Homeless Heroin Injectors”
  • 2007 - Graduate Student Award: Krista Schumacher - “Beyond Cultural Competency: An Analysis of Key Variables Affecting Aids Care among Patients at an Urban Indian Health Clinic”
  • 2007 - Undergraduate Award: Aki Nakanishi - “Protecting Indigenous Medical Knowledge: Confronting Biopiracy and Neo-cultural Imperialism”
  • 2006 - Charles L. Briggs, Professional Prize for “Critical Perspectives on Health and Communicative Hegemony: Progressive Possibilities, Lethal Connections”
  • 2006 - Seth M. Holmes, Graduate Student Prize for Oaxacans Like to Work Bent Over: The Naturalization of Social Suffering among Berry Farm Workers”
  • 2006 - Alexa Dietrich, Graduate Student Prize for “Corrosion in the System: The Community Health By-Products of Pharmaceutical Production in Northern Puerto Rico”
  • 2005 - Paul Farmer and Arachu Castro, Professional Prize
  • 2005 - JoĂŁo Biehl, Professional Prize
  • 2005 - Michael Westerhaus, Graduate Student Prize
  • 2004 - James Pfeiffer, Professional Prize
  • 2004 - Sarah Willen, Graduate Student Prize - “Birthing ‘Invisible’ Children: State Power, NGO Activism, and Reproductive Health among Undocumented Migrant Workers in Tel Aviv”
  • 2004 - Hanna Garth, Undergraduate Student Prize
  • 2003 - Barbara Rylko-Bauer and Paul Farmer, Professional Prize
  • 2003 - Cesar Abadia, Graduate Student Prize
  • 2003 - Scott Sang-Hyan Lee, Undergraduate Prize
  • 2002 - Michael Ennis-McMillan, Professional Prize
  • 2002 - Sarah Horton, Student Prize
  • 2000 - Carolyn Smith, First Rudolf Virchow Student Prize
  • 1995 - Donna Goldstein: AIDS and Women in Brazil: The Emerging Problem, Social Science and Medicine 39(7).
  • 1994 - Hans Baer: How Critical Can Clinical Anthropology Be?, Medical Anthropology 15(3):299-317.
  • 1993 - Soheir Morsy: Bodies of Choice: Norplant Experimental Trials on Egyptian Women .
  • 1992 - Mark & Mimi Nichter: Hype and Weight, Medical Anthropology 13:249-284, 1991
  • 1991 - Merrill Singer: Reinventing Medical Anthropology: Toward a Critical Realignment, Social Science and Medicine 30(2):179-187 (1990).
  • 1990 - John O'Neil - The Politics of Patient Dissatisfaction in Cross-Cultural Clinical Encounters: A Canadian Inuit example, Medical Anthropology 3 (4): 325-344.
  • 1989 - Lynn Morgan, Dependency theory in the political economy of health: An anthropological critique. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 1(2):131-154. 1987.
  • 1988 - Ellen Lazarus
  • 1987 - Ronnie Frankenberg

See also


Critical Medical Anthropology of Health Interest Group

External links

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