I am a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Women’s Studies, and in the Center for Culture and Health, which is based in the David Geffen School of Medicine’s NPI-Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. I became Chair of the Anthropology Department in July 2010. My training as a medical anthropologist combines a doctorate in socio-cultural anthropology with a Master’s degree in public health.
Some of my other work has concerned how couples from Mexican backgrounds who are offered amniocentesis decide whether to undergo the procedure, how conflicts between a woman and man over whether to be tested are resolved, and the role genetic counselors play in couples' amniocentesis decisions. A follow-up study enabled me to deconstruct the strategies prenatal genetic service providers use to communicate information about prenatal genetic testing options to Latinas with limited education and/or English living in south Texas and southern California. Other projects have examined how Latino couples make decisions about condom use; the meanings associated with cervical cancer held by women and men living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border; and the use of reproductive health services by homeless women in Los Angeles.