Medical Humanities Faculty Fellows

Medical Humanities Faculty Fellows

Louis Sass

SassLouis A. Sass has strong interdisciplinary interests involving the intersection of clinical psychology with philosophy, the arts, and literary studies. His publications include critical analyses of psychoanalytic theory; phenomenological studies of schizophrenia; and articles on notions of truth and of the self in psychoanalysis, hermeneutic philosophy, and  postmodernism. He is the author of Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought and The Paradoxes of Delusion: Wittgenstein, Schreber, and the Schizophrenic Mind. He also co-edited Hermeneutics and Psychological Theory. Dr. Sass has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J., and was awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Foundation. Currently he is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and a research associate in the history of psychiatry at Cornell Medical College. He is also a research associate in the Center for Cognitive Science and serves on the faculty of the Program in Comparative Literature, both at Rutgers.

Lisa Mikesell

Mikesell headshot croppedLisa Mikesell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. She investigates the communication and social practices used to negotiate interactions in a variety of health and mental health contexts. Her work consists of three intertwining threads. The first examines the situated interactional practices of individuals diagnosed with neurological and psychiatric disorders and their carers in community contexts to provide a grounded perspective on competence, everyday functioning and patient engagement. Examining individuals’ involvements in community contexts informs the second thread of her work, which identifies best practices in clinic contexts, providing an ecologically sensitive lens on applications of patient-centeredness, shared decision-making and the use of decision support strategies in clinic communication. The third thread highlights patient engagement in the collective sense by exploring the practices, perceptions and ethics of community-engagement and community-based participatory research (CBPR) in public health research. Collectively, her work informs our understanding of best practices, intervention development and implementation and contains a strong applied component, particularly to inquiry in health services.

Joanna Kempner

Kempner picJoanna Kempner, associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University and affiliate member of Rutgers’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, works at the intersection of medicine, science, gender, and the body. Her research investigates knowledge production as cultural work, inscribed with and shaped by tacit assumptions about social relations across gender, race, and class. Her first book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago 2014), examines the social values embedded in the way we talk about, understand, and make policies for people in pain. She has also written extensively on the formation of “forbidden knowledge,” which are the boundaries that form around what we think is too dangerous, sensitive, or taboo to research. Kempner is currently working on several projects related to the politics of disease, pharmaceutical development, and health care delivery, including a new book manuscript on underground psychedelic drug research.

Professor Kempner received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, participated in the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program and worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University. She has won several awards for her research, including the 2016 American Sociological Association’s Eliot Freidson award for Outstanding Publication in Medical Sociology and the 2016 Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology. She writes for a wide variety of audiences, publishing in journals like Science, Social Science & Medicine, Gender & Society, and Public Library of Science Medicine.

James Walkup

WalkupJames Walkup is a Professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. His early training was in philosophy, first at Yale University (BA), then at St. Andrews University in Scotland (M.Litt.).   After receiving his Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in inpatient psychiatry, was awarded an NIMH postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers, and, since 1994, he has been a core faculty at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology.  He now serves as department chair, and director of clinical training in the PsyD clinical psychology department. His empirical research has focused on care patterns in public insurance programs (e.g. Medicaid) for marginalized groups, particularly those with serious mental illness and HIV.  He chaired an NIH study section on AIDS and related research integrated review group, and is currently conducting archival research on the development of community based mental health services for people with HIV in the early years of the epidemic.

Catherine Lee

Dr Catherine LeeCatherine Lee is associate professor of sociology and faculty associate at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University. As a political sociologist, she examines how meanings of race and ethnicity shape social relations and inequalities across three critical sites: immigration; science and medicine; and law and society. Catherine is the author of Fictive Kinship: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race and Nation in American Immigration and co-editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History. Her new book project examines how American biomedicine is responding to ideas of growing diversity in the U.S. population.

Carla Cevasco

Cevasco Headshot smallCarla Cevasco is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University. She is a historian of food, medicine, and material culture in colonial North America. She is Director of the New Jersey Folk Festival. Her first project, Violent Appetites, is a history of scarcity in early America. Her second project explores plant agency and medicine in the early Atlantic. Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Early American Studies and New England Quarterly.  

Areas of interest: colonial North America and the Atlantic World; food; borderlands; material culture; medicine and the body