Morrissey Suzanne Morrissey

The Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program announced this spring the selection of Suzanne Morrissey, assistant professor of anthropology, as the visiting research chair in environment, health and sustainability at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, for fall semester 2010.

The Distinguished Chairs program is viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright program.

“Receiving this Fulbright marks a moment of transition in my research focus both in terms of topical interest and geographical location,” Morrissey said.

“My research has centered on maternal and child health in the United States and Ireland, with occasional work in Ecuador. With this project, I will begin to explore uses of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), broadly conceptualized but with a focus on the use of chiropractic, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine for ‘hard-to-diagnose’ illnesses and syndromes.”

Morrissey’s work will contribute to research literacy on CAM therapies for “medically unexplained syndromes or emerging illnesses that disproportionately affect women, such as chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia and lupus,” she said.

She expects that her Fulbright experience will help her build on courses she has taught at Whitman and Cornell University on “Medicine, Culture and Society,” “Culture Health and Indigenous Development in the Andes” and “Culture and AIDS.”

“In each of these classes students explore the ‘medicalization of life,’ a theme that characterizes my own studies of how local health perceptions and practices reflect larger issues of social change and structure cross-culturally,” she said.