About Angela Martin, PhD
I am a cultural anthropologist, writer, and teacher working to bring the wonderful insights anthropology has to offer to the public. Over the last year-and-a-half I have been researching and writing my forthcoming book, Healing the Embodied Self, Understanding Our Innate Ability to Heal. Written for a general audience, this book details my model of the embodied self, critiquing and moving beyond the biomedical mechanical view of the human body, so that we can make better sense of illness and healing. My goal in this book is to empower all readers (patients, practitioners, students, and scholars) with a view of innate healing that truly undermines the mind-body dualism that so limits medical and psychological approaches to human suffering. My background has equipped me with the broad view necessary to set out on what I know is an ambitious, daring, and controversial undertaking.
Before entering graduate school in anthropology, I worked for two years as a Research Analyst in biochemistry at the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky (UK). In this position, I used research involving mutagenesis to study gene function. Eventually, I left experimental research in the biosciences to pursue two advanced degrees in cultural anthropology. I graduated in 1999 with my PhD from UK, after completing extensive fieldwork in the Republic of Ireland and the United States. My dissertation research focused on transnationalism, healing, and spirituality in Ireland, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. While writing my dissertation, I taught anthropology and history at DePaul University in Chicago. Then I moved to the Anthropology Department at Michigan State University, where I spent three years doing fieldwork in Detroit area churches and teaching.
In 2001, I left academia and began work as a research scientist and program director at the nonprofit Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI). During my eight years at MPHI, I designed and served as a principal investigator on many projects, and won funding from multiple sources, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Network of Public Health Institutes. I also served on the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board as the Institute’s HIPAA Privacy Officer for two years.
I moved from MPHI to serve as the Quality Assurance (QA) Administrator for the Michigan prisoner health care system in 2009. During my three years in QA in Corrections, the state’s largest agency, I led the effort to implement HEDIS performance measures for the first time in the department’s history. I also began consulting in public health program evaluation while working for the State of Michigan.
I left QA and Corrections in 2011 having experienced the biosciences, public health, and health care from the inside as a practitioner, researcher, evaluator, and government official. However, my experience of the biomedical institutions with which I have worked for many years has always been tempered by and filtered through my view of the world as an anthropologist. Over the last couple of years I have returned to my roots and applied my insight to writing and teaching about the Western biomedical system, particularly the limits of the biomedical disease model and clinical research that underpin medical and pharmaceutical knowledge. I have now developed a radical new model of innate healing and the embodied self. Join me on this journey to make better sense of illness and healing. Check out my new book, follow me on Twitter and share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences.
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