My research is located at the intersection of medical, psychological, and linguistic anthropology as well as clinical medicine. In all my work, I strive to unite a detailed, person-centered focus on the everyday personal, social, and communicative experiences of individuals with a broad ethnographic appreciation of the shifting cultural, historical, and political frameworks always influencing the lives of participants. I am also interested in work that integrates anthropology, neuroscience, and clinical research in a holistic framework with potential to affect health outcomes in several domains. In general, I am interested in several broad areas, including:
- biocultural-linguistic anthropology
- language, emotion, and the body
- intimacy, selfhood, and cultural change in China
- translation in Chinese medicine
- methodology in integrative medicine research
- the globalization of Chinese medicine
- the development of integrative medicine in the U.S. and China
Specific projects have included:
2018-: Embodying Emotion in Interaction: A Biocultural-Linguistic Study of Communication and Physiology (National Science Foundation/EPSCoR Senior Research Grant, with Jason DeCaro and Josh Pederson): This interdisciplinary project takes an ethnographic approach to the study of emotion communication among 50 adult partners in the Southeastern U.S., emphasizing naturalistic observation, video-recoding, in-depth interviews, and close monitoring of physiological activity over multiple days. We aim to collect anthropologically sound evidence for the reciprocal ways in which moment-to-moment physiology is affected by and affects emotion communication in everyday life, and how this process impacts indicators of psychosocial wellbeing among partners.
2018-19: Embodying Language in The Context Of Culture: Developing Biocultural-Linguistic Anthropology Through Research On Interaction, Culture, And The Human Body (Wenner-Gren Foundation,Workshop Award, with Jason DeCaro): The workshop, which will be held in May in Tuscaloosa, brings together American linguistic and biocultural medical anthropologists with European anthropologists, psycholinguists, and cognitive scientists in a focused study of how the human body affects and is affected by everyday communication in the context of culture. Our overarching objective is to advance theory and method in the anthropological study of language and embodiment.
2017-2018: Health Impacts of Emotion Communication in Close Relationships Among Older Adults (UA RGC-2) This project combines methods from biocultural and linguistic anthropology to examine the ways in which emotion communication between partners between the ages of 60 and 75 affect physiological indicators of stress (with Drs. Jason DeCaro and Joshua Pederson)
2014–: The Development of Psychologically Oriented Chinese Medicine (Wenner Gren Foundation Post PhD Grant) This project is an ethnographic study examining the emergence of hybrid Chinese medical psychologies that integrate clinical psychology, psychiatry, and New Age spirituality in the creation of theories and practices that promote healing through increased self-awareness and expression in contemporary China.
2013–2015: Feasibility and Acceptability of an Integrative, Chinese Medicine Diet for Chinese Americans with Type 2 Diabetes (UCSF Resource Allocation Program (RAP), Asian Health Institute Pilot Grant, Ho, Seligman PIs) The goals of this research are to establish Chinese medical diagnoses for diabetes, establish standards for food recommendations based on those diagnoses, and create a culturally informed diet that includes Chinese medical food recommendations while still being medically and nutritionally sound.
2012-2014: Best Practices in the Translation of Chinese Medicine (UCLA OVCR Transdisciplinary Seed Grant, Heim and Hui Co-PIs) The goal of this research was to develop international guidelines for the translation of Chinese medicine in clinical practice and research.
2007-11: Translation as Everyday Practice in U.S. Chinese Medical Education (funded by U.S. Department of Education, UCLA Graduate Division, and Wenner-Gren Foundation, Pritzker PI): 24 months ethnographic fieldwork, including participant observation, video-recording of classes, and ongoing interviews with students and faculty in a Southern California school of Chinese medicine, as well as several years of international fieldwork in Beijing and throughout the U.S., attending conferences and conducting interviews with translators.
2003-06: The Experience and Treatment of Mood Disorder in China (funded by the U.S. Department of State Fulbright Student Fellowship): 12 months ethnographic fieldwork in various psychiatric hospitals and clinics in Beijing, China, including semi-structured interviews with doctors, students, and patients of combined Chinese-Western medicine, Western medicine, and Chinese medicine.
2002: Chinese Medical Treatment for Depression: Comprehensive literature review focusing on American, Chinese, and Europoean clinical studies examining acupuncture and herbal medical treatment of depression.
1995-97: Counseling Psychology in Modern Mainland China: 12 months of fieldwork in Beijing, China, including interviews with psychologists, educators, clients, and citizens regarding coping strategies and attitudes towards counseling psychology.