Steven Polgar: Population and Medical Anthropologist

Last Friday at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meetings, I received the 2014 Steven Polgar Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology for my article, “Children’s Roles in Tuberculosis Treatment Regimes: Constructing Childhood and Kinship in Urban Zambia.” The prize is named in honor of one of my professional heroes, Steven Polgar (1931-1978), a pioneer in population and medical anthropology. Throughout his work, Dr. Polgar emphasized a point that is equally valid in health policy-making and programming today as it was in the twentieth century—the need to “fit technology to the people rather than people to technology.” Steven Polgar’s approach to anthropology and health represents everything that I strive for as a scholar, most especially his blending of theoretical and applied anthropology, his expansive command of scholarship in anthropology and beyond, his interdisciplinarity, his dedication to policy and programmatic change, and his humanistic approach. He also advanced theories on public health technologies and children that paved the way for my work. I am humbled to have my name associated with his. Read more about Dr. Polgar’s incredible life and work here.