Carina Heckert




PhD Southern Methodist University 2015

My dissertation research explores the gendered nature of illness experiences for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia where new cases of HIV are increasing rapidly, especially among women. This trend coincides with a global health focus on women and HIV/AIDS and recent political transformations that seek to grant women and PLWHA more rights. The primary focus of my research is how these broader discourses on gender equality are shaping the everyday lives of PLWHA, specifically in regards to illness experiences and gender relations.

Another area of research I am interested in is immigrant mental health in the United States. I recently worked with Professor Nia Parson on a project titled "Translating Affect: Symptomatology and Subjectivity at the Intersections of Gender Based Violence and Global Migration," which explores how intersecting forms of vulnerability shape emotional distress among immigrant women who are recovering from gender-based violence. Prior to coming to SMU, I completed a Master's Degree in Sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I conducted research on the mental health needs of Latina immigrants in a context where few culturally sensitive healthcare resources are readily available.

Entered program in 2009

Title of Dissertation:  "Do You Want to Live, or Do You Want to Die?": The Gendered Politics of Life During an AIDS Funding Crises.

Region of Study:

Latin America, especially Bolivia, and the United States

Honors and Awards:

Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Participant in the 2011 NSF Field School in Cultural Anthropology in the Bolivian Amazon
SMU Graduate Student Development Grant, 2010 and 2011
SMU Anthropology Department Edward Fry Award for Summer Research, 2010 and 2011
SMU Anthropology Department Steed Travel Award, 2010


Peer-Reviewed Publications

2012. "Latina Immigrants in Rural Western Pennsylvania and Use of Mental Health Resources When Coping with Depression: Implications for Practice." International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 5(3):181-189.

Research Reports

2013. "Primary Data Formative Research Report: Heterosexuals at Increased Risk of HIV Cycle 3 (HET-3), Dallas Metropolitan Division." Research report prepared for Texas Department of State Health Services.

2012. "Primary Data Formative Research Report: Injection Drug Users Cycle 3 (IDU-3), Dallas Metropolitan Division." Research report prepared for Texas Department of State Health Services.

2010. "Burmese Refugees and Healthcare in Dallas." A publication for Texas Health Resources (with Caroline Brettell, Shay Cannedy, Lisa Haayen, Laura Jarvis, Beibei Yang, and Amber Zabka).

Master's Thesis

2009. Understanding Depression in Latina Immigrants in Rural Western Pennsylvania. Unpublished thesis. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of Sociology.