Arachu Castro

Fellow: Awarded 2010

Field of Study: Medicine and Health

Competition: US & Canada

Website: http://ghsm.hms.harvard.edu/people/faculty/castro/

Arachu Castro, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Assistant Professor of Social Medicine in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Senior Advisor for Mexico and Guatemala at Partners In Health, and Medical Anthropologist in the Division of Global Health Equity in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her major interests are how social inequalities are embodied as differential risk for pathologies common among the poor and how health policies may alter the course of epidemic disease and other pathologies afflicting populations living in poverty. As a medical anthropologist trained in public health, she works mostly in infectious disease and women’s health in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has worked in Mexico, Argentina, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, and is expanding her research to other countries through the Latin America and Caribbean Initiative for the Integration of Prenatal Care with the Testing and Treatment of HIV and Syphilis (ILAP), which she directs in collaboration with UNICEF, UNAIDS, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and eight national AIDS programs. Dr. Castro teaches social medicine at Harvard Medical School and has taught in Spain, Argentina, France, Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. She received her Ph.D. in Ethnology and Social Anthropology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Barcelona, a Masters in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health, and a professional degree in Nutrition from the Polytechnic Institute of Barcelona. She is the recipient of the 2005 Rudolf Virchow Award of the Critical Anthropology of Health Caucus of the Society for Medical Anthropology.

With the Guggenheim Fellowship, Arachu Castro will write a book on women and AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through the lived experiences of a small group of women from different countries, the book will challenge the imposed concept of unworthiness, will analyze the position of women in the scale of priorities in health policymaking, particularly with respect to AIDS, and will reflect on the complexities involved in building responses to great human needs. The book will include a black-and-white photo essay by the author on the confluence of poverty, marginalization, and violence—and on the power of some women to turn these forces around.