3rd International Conference of the Society for Medical Anthropology/ANTROPOS, Havana, Cuba TRIP CANCELLED
The letter below from SMA President, Charles Briggs, summarized what I missed. Sadly though wisely, SfAA cancelled its Spring 2020 meeting, which is another professional home for medical anthropologists. We are all looking forward to figuring out what kinds of conferencing options will be possible as this pandemic unfolds.
The SMA/ANTROPOS 2020 meeting in Havana, which concluded last night, was spectacular from start to finish. It is somewhat remarkable that it happened at all: If the three Italian tourists had been diagnosed in Cuba with COVID 19 before the beginning of the conference, I think that it would have been cancelled. In Cuban rhetorical style, let me start with some statistics: Given that a number of those who had sent in abstracts were unfortunately unable to come-and were certainly missed-it is notable that the event still included 159 participants from 23 countries. SMA's program consisted of 21 sessions with 85 oral presentations, 27 posters, and a film. The opening day of SMA's program featured an online presentation by Latin America's leading figure in medical anthropology, Eduardo Menéndez, followed by presentations on Menéndez's work by Cuban anthropologists, public health scholars and practitioners, and others, including a Pan American Health Organization official. The three principal themes were social determination of health from social medicine, critical epidemiology, and critical medical anthropology perspectives; sexual and reproductive rights and health; and intercultural health and indigenous movements. The activities also consisted of concerts, including by a youth orchestra, a banquet and dance, and a trip to the Anthropological Museum Montané. Past-President Arachu Castro deserves our sincere thanks for the massive commitment of time and energy to make the meeting possible and for sustaining its organization and spirit in the face of viral efforts to derail it. SMA Treasurer Jessica Mulligan helped immensely with the complex financial arrangements, and SMA members Elise Andaya and Carolyn Smith-Morris and National School of Public Health Professor Zoe Díaz Bernal assisted Arachu on the Program Committee. I was very pleased to be able to meet a number of scholars who lead Latin American medical anthropology associations and groups; they are very interested in exploring ways of collaborating with us in the future. In sum, SMA owes deep gratitude to Arachu for launching this impressive initiative in linking medical anthropologies worldwide.
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