Faculty Applied Interests and Consulting Specialties | Department of Anthropology

Faculty Applied Interests and Consulting Specialties

Beverly Ann Davenport

Anthropology and social epidemiology of chronic disease (especially hypertension, type II diabetes, and obesity), the role of race and class as variables in health disparities in the United States, communication processes in medical care, medical professional socialization processes, qualitative methods in program evaluation

Adam Dunstan

Anthropology of religion; environmental anthropology; sacred landscapes; environmental policy; federal/state/tribal interactions; Native American and intercultural environmental organizing; environmental justice; sociolinguistics; air pollution.

Doug Henry

Medical anthropology, refugee and immigrant health, international and public health, the demographic impacts of culture change, the Internet, international disaster relief, violence, Africa

Lisa Henry

Cross-cultural health beliefs and treatments, healthcare decision making and alternative medicine, evaluation of healthcare delivery in hospitals and clinics, patient response and compliance to treatment plan, curriculum evaluation in medical schools

Andew Nelson

Sub/Urbanism, Migration and Refugees, Immigration & Urban Policy, Housing & Architecture, Intermediaries, Nepal/South Asian Cities, South Asian Diaspora in Americas, Urban Inequality in US

Mariela Nuñez-Janes

Anthropology of education, youth, migration and migrant education, immigration, social movements and grassroots organizing, action research, Latinxs, feminist and border pedagogies, U.S. Southwest, and Latin America

Alicia Re Cruz

Migrants and refugees, displacement, border studies, Hispanic culture and society, Latin America, Mesoamerican culture, Maya culture and society, rural-urban migration, social change, tourism, transnationalism, peasant societies

Christina Wasson

Design anthropology, anthropology of technology, user-centered design, human-computer interaction, language archives, organizational anthropology, environmental governance, integration of theory and practice


Examples of Applied Projects of Faculty Members

Beverly Ann Davenport

Project: "Testing a Food Choice Innovation for Middle School Cafeterias,"
Client: United States Department of Agriculture, USDA-ERS-FNRP Grant, Agreement Number 59-5000-0 -0088,
Date: 2010-2013
Description: Dr. Davenport was part of a collaborative team of nutritionists and hospitality management specialists, which also included both undergraduate and graduate student research assistants. The project focused on Calhoun Middle School students in Denton, Texas, as they sought to examine the ways that "choice architecture" could make a difference in the food selections that these middle schoolers make in the lunchroom cafeteria. The team found that subtle shifts in the way that food items were presented in the lunch line improved the choices that students made, and, as documented via before and after photography which was coded according to a rigorous standard, changed the students' actual consumption of healthier foods.

Project: SolanoWORKS-WIC Nutrition Program Evaluation
Client: Department of Health and Social Services, Solano County, California
Date: 2001-2003
Description: Dr. Davenport designed a program evaluation using qualitative research methods for a special WIC program for welfare-to-work mothers. She trained nutritionists in basic principles of ethnographic research and writing, conducting monthly workshops to help them develop their ethnographic write-ups of their clients. She provided an overall data analysis, wrote the executive summary, edited the ethnographic portraits written by the nutritionists and integrated them into a comprehensive final report produced for the Director of the Health and Social Services Department.


Adam Dunstan

Project: UNT Mass Transit Project
Client: UNT Transportation Services
Date: 2016-2017
Description: Exploration of environmental perceptions, values, and transportation decisions of North Texas commuters to University of North Texas to inform university efforts at increasing mass transit usage. Integrated as experiential learning project within environmental anthropology course.


Doug Henry

Project: Social and Environmental Interventions Study
Client: University of Texas SW Medical Center
Date: 2000-2002
Description: This project, a multi-stage, mixed quantitative/ qualitative study, was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to look at "structural" influences from the social and physical environment on the behavior of young gay and bisexual men. Between 2000-2002, the project collaborated with some 200 young men and over 80 local HIV service providers, outreach workers, community leaders, and health professionals. The approach followed that of a "community empowerment" intervention, in which community-wide change in behaviors is targeted by organizing communities to define their health problems, identify the determinants of those problems, and engage in effective, collective action to change these determinants. The purpose was been to engage young men in articulating the social and environmental factors in their lives relevant to their current risk for HIV/ STD infection, and to enlist their participation in conceptualizing, prioritizing, and evaluating a range of potential prevention interventions that could, if realized, fundamentally address these influences, and positively impact their lives.

Project: Liberian, Nigerian, and Sudanese Refugee/ Immigrant Health Concerns
Client: Baylor University Hospital, Dallas
Date: 1998, 2001
Description: Refugees and immigrants living in the United States often have unique health concerns, of which U.S. health practitioners may be ill equipped or simply too busy to understand. This research was based on the belief that a better understanding of the social, cultural, political, and economic situation of these groups could help U.S. health care practitioners better meet refugee and immigrant health care needs.

Project: Health, Income, and Empowerment Among Sierra Leonean Refugees
Client: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Field Office, Guéckédou, Guinea, West Africa
Date: 1997
Description: Economic opportunities for camp-dwelling refugees are limited, a fact which has problematic implications for health and health behavior within the camps, in particular the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Currently the prevalence of STDs among refugees remains largely undocumented, as most cases are not reported to the formal sector. They are, however, widely acknowledged among refugees themselves to be common. This project was the result of preliminary research concerning health behaviors of Sierra Leonean (mostly Mende) refugees in Kolomba Camp, Rep. of Guinea. It attempted to shed light on the complex relationships that exist in camps between economic generating ability, empowerment, gender, culture, education, and "at risk" behavior. It was done in conjunction with the researchers' affiliation with the NGO's Catholic Mission for Refugees and Concern Universal, and as part of doctoral dissertation research in medical anthropology.


Lisa Henry

Project: Food Insecurity among College Students
Client: University of North Texas Dean of Students
Date: 2014- present
Description: The goals of this project are to investigate the short term and sustained benefits of the UNT food pantry for food insecure students, investigate the barriers to accessing food assistance programs (on and off campus), investigate the need for alternative food assistance programs on campus, and investigate the different factors related to short-term food insecurity and long-term food insecurity among students. Research indicates that food insecurity negatively impacts academic performance, mental and social health, dietary choices and overall health status among adolescents and young adults. Understanding the needs of and solutions for food insecure college students is crucial to student success.

Project: Evaluation of the Denton Mobile Food Pantry
Client: The Denton Hunger Coalition
Date: 2016
Description: The goal of this project was to evaluate the Denton Mobile Food Pantry. We collected data on the families who came to the Denton Mobile Food Pantry to understand their difficulties and challenges, their major health issues that impacted food security, the impact/relevance of the pantry on the clients' lives, and any feedback to improve services.

Project: Understanding Hunger in North Texas: Identifying Factors that Influence Food Security
Client: The Hunger Center at the North Texas Food Bank
Date: 2012-2014
Description: The goal of this research was to understand how a person's environment (social and physical) and social capital affect their level of food security. This research provides a complex understanding of both barriers faced and strategies utilized by individuals experiencing food insecurity. The goal is to assist the Hunger Center in providing appropriate programs and services to specific communities.


Andrew Nelson

Project: Bhutanese Refugees in Dallas/Ft. Worth
Client: Bhutanese Society of America, DFW; Beginners Community Support Group of DFW
Date: 2014- present
Description: With these two refugee CBOs in the DFW area, I have used anthropological research and skills to support and advocate for Nepali-Bhutanese refugees as a grant writer, ESL/Citizenship exam instructor, and advisor. .


Mariela Nuñez-Janes

Project: Human Trafficking in North Texas
Client: Opening Doors International Services
Date: 2015-2016
Description:This project focused on understanding local awareness of the signs of human trafficking along the I-35 corridor in Denton County. Businesses were surveyed and research results were used to aid ODIS in developing their human trafficking prevention campaign.

Project: IamWe, Digital Storytelling
Client: Texas High School PALs program
Date: 2007-2014
Description: See https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/books/9783110539356/9783110539356-009/9783110539356-009.pdf

Project: Undocumented Students, immigrant rights, and youth-led activism
Client: North Texas Dream Team
Date: 2006-present
Description: I have used action research and other anthropological skills to support students by creating a guide of resources to facilitate the high-school to college transition, connecting students to resources and relevant information, advocating as expert through briefs, reports, and presentations for North Texas educators, and organizing resources for the promotion of education in the immigrant community.

Project: Bilingual Education and Identity
Client: New Mexican Urban Elementary School
Date: 2000
Description: This project compared two strands of bilingual instruction (dual-language and maintenance) utilized in a New Mexican elementary school. The purpose was to understand how each strand's assumptions about the roles played by English and Spanish in the classroom informed Latino students' attitudes towards language and ethnicity. I conducted participant observation with fourth and fifth-grade students who identified as Mexicano and Chicano to further illuminate the historical tensions between long time Hispano residents and recently arrived Mexican immigrants.


Alicia Re Cruz

Project: Immigration Resource Council for Conflict Resolution
Client: North Texas community
Date: 2001-2002
Description: This project aims at resolving conflicts due to cultural misunderstanding among the multi-cultural community of North Texas. It provides assistance for immigrants, civic agencies, schools, hospitals or other individuals and organizations that request the council's resources for help in problem solving. The project helps with mediators, translators, legal liaisons, and cultural experts provided through the network of professionals, community leaders and ethnic associations which comprise the program. In addition, this project is an exercise in keeping university and community in constant communication; applied anthropology students get involved at different steps of the research or resolution of the case-conflict that the council deals with. This program is operated on a volunteer basis.

Project: Dialogue Among Borders
Client: UNT (University of North Texas) and UQROO (The University of Quintana Roo)
Date: 1999-2001
Description: This project aimed at analyzing the "border culture" by establishing a dialogue between different Mexican border regions: North, border with USA, and South, border with Belize. The study had three focuses: public health, environment, and community development. Two groups of students from both universities were selected. Through videoconference, three scholars from both universities, specialized in the study's focuses, presented their research to both student groups. An integral part of the videoconference was a twenty to thirty minute time for questions and answers among Texans and Mexican students, based on the data presented and the stereotypes that each group had on their or the others' border region. The project finished with a round table of guest speakers which included scholars, community leaders and representatives, and students in order to address the needs of both Mexican borders, and the commonalities and differences among them. This project resulted in a monograph that contains scholars' lectures, major points discussed at the round table, and Mexican and Texan students papers which were presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology meetings in 2000 and 2001.

Project: Introduction of New Planting Techniques among Yucatec Mayas
Client: Chan Kom, a Maya Yucatec community
Date: 1989-90
Description: The Yucatec Mayas perform slash-and-burn techniques to plant corn in their milpas; however because of the exhaustion soil in the forest, their yields are more and more scarce. The Mexican Government tried to bring new planting techniques to the Maya communities, in order to produce more corn; however their training and efforts to teach and show the Maya peasants the new agricultural methods were not successful. This project showed that the agricultural introductions by the Government were clashing with the ancestral ways of "growing and nurturing" corn, which jeopardizes the ritual-sacred Maya cycle associated to corn. The study proposed alternatives of establishing "dialogues" between the new techniques and the traditional way of "making milpa". This project-study was part of my PhD research among the Mayas, which resulted in the book, The Two Milpas of Chan Kom, published by SUNY Press.


Christina Wasson

See https://www.christinawasson.com/research/

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