Carolyn Smith-Morris

Associate Professor, SMU

Heroy Hall 415
(214) 768-2878

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Carolyn Smith-Morris is a medical anthropologist and Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University.  Her research addresses chronic disease, particularly diabetes, through ethnographic and mixed methodologies.  She has conducted ethnographic research among the Gila River (Akimel O’odham) Indian Community of Southern Arizona, Mexicans and Mexican immigrants to the U.S., and Veterans with spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Smith-Morris received her B.A. in anthropology from Emory University, an M.S. in rehabilitation services from Florida State University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona.  She is the author of several articles in minority and indigenous health, health and research ethics, the end-of-life, diabetes, and reproduction.  She has published in the journals American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Appetite, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, Human Organization, JAMA Clinical Crossroads Online, Medical Anthropology, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, the Omega Journal of Death and Dying, and Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology.  Her first monograph, Diabetes Among the Pima: Stories of Survival, was published in 2006 by the University of Arizona Press.  She co-edited Chronic Conditions, Fluid States: Chronicity and the Anthropology of Illness (2010) with Lenore Manderson through Rutgers University Press; and she is sole editor of Diagnostic Controversy: Cultural Perspectives on Competing Knowledge in Healthcare (2015) through Routledge Press.




  • Ph.D., Medical Anthropology, University of Arizona, 2001
  • M.Ed., Rehabilitation Sciences, Florida State University, 1988
  • B.A., Anthropology, Emory University, 1984

Selected Publications, Speeches and Presentations

  • 2017       Smith-Morris, Carolyn. "Epidemiological placism in public health emergencies: Ebola in two Dallas neighborhoods".  Social Science & Medicine 179: 106-114.

  • 2016       Smith-Morris, Carolyn.  "The Traditional Food of Migrants: Meat, Water, and Other Challenges for Dietary Advice. An Ethnography in Guanajuato, Mexico".  Appetite 105:430-438.

  • 2016       Smith-Morris, Carolyn. “When Numbers and Stories Collide: RCTs and The Search for Ethnographic Fidelity in the Veterans Administration”. In Vincanne Adams (Ed.) Metrics: What Counts in Global Health Duke University Press, Global Health Series.

  • 2016       Smith-Morris, Carolyn. “Diagnosis and the Punctuated Life-Course”.  In Lenore Manderson, Liz Cartwright, and Anita Hardon (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology, Routledge Press.

  • 2015       Diagnostic Controversy: Advancing and Competing Knowledge and Medical Inquiry.  Carolyn Smith-Morris, Ed. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing.

  • Hussain, Saira and Carolyn Smith-Morris.  “Diapers in War Zones: Ethnomedical Factors in Acute Childhood Gastroenteritis in Peshawar, Pakistan”. PLoS One.Online March 13, 2015.

  • 2014       Smith-Morris, Carolyn, Gilberto Lopez, Lisa Ottomanelli, Lance Goetz, and Kim Dixon-Lawson. “Ethnography, Fidelity, and the Evidence that Anthropology Adds: Supplementing the Fidelity Process in a Clinical Trial of Supported Employment”. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 28(2): 141-161.

  • 2014       Smith-Morris, Carolyn and Jenny Epstein. “Beyond Cultural Competency: Skill, Reflexivity, and Structure in Successful Tribal Health Care”. In Special Issue Cultural Capital and Health in Native American Communities, Jennie Joe and Robert Young (Eds). American Indian Culture & Research Journal 38(1): 29-48.

  • 2014       Choudhury, Devasmita, Gerald Casenave, Fabrice Jotterand, and Carolyn Smith-Morris. “Independent Donor Ethical Assessment (IDEA): An Aim Towards Standardized Donor Advocacy”.  Progress in Transplantation 24(2): 163-168.

Invited Lectures and Conference Presentations

  • (First Author with Kathryn Bouskill) “Eye Care Referral Gaps and the Staff Who Bridge Them: Work-Arounds in Ophthalmology Care at 3 California FQHC’s”.  American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN. Nov. 15-20, 2016.
  • “Cross-Cultural Ethics and Moral Hazard in Global Health Training”. Invited Lecture to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Multicultural Week. February 17, 2016.
  • “Health as a Human Right – Cultural Relativism in Universal Discourses”. Invited Lecture to the DFW Albert Schweitzer Fellows, March 24, 2016.2015       “Superdiversity in Dallas”.  For UTSW Psychiatric residents didactic lecture series on “American Cultures and Subcultures”.  May 26, 2015.
  • “Crisis-Induced Stigma in two Dallas Neighborhoods”.  For Panel titled  “An Epidemic of Misunderstandings: Public Perception and Ebola in Dallas and West Africa”. SMU Interdisciplinary Institute. February 5, 2015.  Dallas Hall, SMU.
  • “Cultural Patterns in Crisis-Induced Stigma: Ebola in Two Neighborhoods of Dallas”. American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, Denver, CO. Nov. 18-22, 2015.
  • “Metrics: What Counts in Global Health”.  Participant in Rountable Session Chaired by Pierre Minn and Vincanne Adams.  American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, Denver, CO. Nov. 18-22, 2015.
  • “Salience or Sales: Ethnographic Evidence About Dietary Change in Mexican Im/Migrants”.  Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, March 2015.
  • “Diagnostic Controversy: Cultural Perspectives on Competing Knowledge and Scientific Advance in Health” American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, Denver, CO. Nov. 18-22, 2015.