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Social Disparities in Health ~ Dr. Angela Garcia~ Anthropology Colloquium

College Hall
Room 125
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About the event

How do diurnal cortisol-immune interactions and parasitic infection moderate social influences on metabolic health among immigrant women on Utila? 

Dr. Angela Garcia
Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Evolution and Medicine
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Cardiometabolic diseases (e.g. heart disease and diabetes) are the leading cause of death and morbidity worldwide. Diabetes, for example, will double in the next 30 years, with 80% of the rise occurring in middle and lower- income countries. Social, economic, and ecological landscapes often change alongside market integration and development, making it difficult to tease apart the primary agents responsible for these changes in epidemiological profiles. Further, at the population-level, there remains drastic individual variation in disease risk. Why are some individuals in a population at greater risk of poor health than others? What can an evolutionary approach offer in helping us to understand causes (and potential treatments) for current health disparities? I will present research that seeks to address these questions by targeting three important but under-studied factors that contribute to disease risk: discrimination, psychosocial stress, and ecological variation. In this talk, I couple fieldwork and ethnography with theory from evolutionary biology (e.g. life history theory and phenotypic plasticity), biocultural anthropology (e.g. perceptions of self and the environment), and chronobiology (e.g. diurnal regulation of hormones and immune function), to examine links between social and ecological parameters of the environment, hormonal measures of stress, immune function, and risk for diabetes among Honduran immigrant women on the island of Utila.

All are welcome to attend!