Health and Well-being

Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology is a leader in exploring the connections between cultural contexts, social experiences, physiology, and health. Our cultural and medical anthropologists are renowned for their study of health and culture. We investigate the social, political, and economic contexts that shape health practices and how different social groups experience and understand illness and healing. We use these perspectives to address questions with local and global implications, including the functioning of healthcare systems and medical training and how we can build sustainable futures for global health that are resilient to social and physical disasters. In biological anthropology, our faculty are leaders in evolutionary and biocultural research that considers how social context “gets under the skin” to shape human biology and health. Our faculty apply this approach to a range of biological systems, including metabolism and cardiovascular function, hormone physiology, epigenetic and genetic pathways, and skeletal biology. For example, we study the effects of family life on men’s biology and health and how fathers help shape child health in diverse global contexts. We are generating new knowledge about how climate change alters economic opportunities and cultural practices for Arctic populations, and how these changes affect cardiovascular and metabolic physiology. Our research on health and well-being bridges the sub-fields of anthropology to explore domains that help shape day-to-day life in settings around the world and critical challenges facing marginalized communities or those living in extreme environments.