Dr. Kristin Hedges
My primarily research interests are linked to gender inequality and health; including HIV/AIDS, juvenile justice, and substance abuse. I am drawn to questions of structural vulnerability and how local contexts impact health and healing. I have two fieldwork sites: Kenya and the Southwest part of the U.S.
I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya and lived with the Maasai tribe from 2000 to 2003. I have continued to work with this same community since 2000. I conducted research on the HIV vulnerability of Maasai women. From a cultural perspective, I work to understand how the political and economic circumstances of the women’s lives impact their risk behavior.
In the Southwestern part of the U.S., I worked firsthand for five years with urban at-risk substance using adolescents and observed how gender inequality, poverty, and sexuality play out within this population. I analyzed social welfare systems, reproductive risk, and familial substance use within these populations.
My new research project focuses on Maasai traditional herbal medicine. This project attempts to understand how health care seeking behaviors are changing in response to deforestation, westernization, and poverty. This project will work with community healers to document medicinal herbs, the frequency and characteristics of their use, health care decision making processes, use of traditional medicine versus pharmaceuticals, and the role that traditional medicines play in supporting a healthy lifestyle.
Most recently I have begun to analyze women’s reproductive health within the lens of the emerging Zika crisis. I am currently serving as the co-chair to the Society of Medical Anthropology’s Zika TIG (Temporary Interest Group).
Hedges, K (under review) Ukimwi ni Homa (AIDS is a cold): the importance of culturally appropriate HIV education Programs. African Journal of AIDS Research.
Hedges, K (2016) Pubertal timing and substance abuse treatment outcomes: an analysis of early menarche on substance use patterns. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse. DOI:10.1080/1067828X.2016.1171186
Hedges, K (2015) Who dropped Whom? - An analysis of school dropouts among substance using populations. Practicing Anthropology. Vol. 37. Issue 1.
Hedges, K (2012). A Family Affair: contextual accounts from addicted youth growing up in substance using families. Journal of Youth Studies. Vol. 15. No. 3: 257-272
Hedges, K. (2012) Teens in the gray zone: The structural violence of substance using youth being raised in the system. Human Organization. Vol. 71, Issue 3: 317-325