I’m an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Western Washington University and use collaborative mixed-methods research to examine the intersections of identity and community health. My current research includes testing interventions for Latinx or American Indians living with chronic disease, examination of disciplinary trends in anthropology, and documentation of risky fieldwork practices and mitigation strategies among URM students and scholars.
The graduate students in my lab tend to research applied topics, including application of videos for diabetes education, urban farming policy, the impact of supportive housing programs, or how individuals with disabilities cope during times of social isolation. Learn more about the students I work with on the lab member or thesis section. I’m welcoming new students to the lab and encourage you to contact me if you are interested in joining us.
I actively teach 6-8 courses a year and advise about 40 students a year (about 35 undergrads and 5 graduate students). Generally speaking, I’ve started to focus on advanced methodology and graduate student courses, though medical anthropology is always in high demand. I also mentor students at other institutions at both the MA and PhD levels.
And since we are all have a story that brought us to the present, here is a little bit about me. I first became interested in the health of underrepresented peoples in high school when I wrote my U.S. Senator about health care access and insurance for the growing Latinx population in the United States. After completing my bachelors and Masters degrees, I explored community health practices in an international setting –the Amazonian region of Ecuador– and later focused my attention back on the U.S.–Mexico border. Returning back to my “home” for health research was not a difficult decision to make. While I enjoyed researching in the Amazon, I felt there were simply too many health issues in the United States that needed (and still need) attention. And for that reason, I continue to research on the border, but always support research that may improve health outcomes among other underserved populations.
My brother, Dr. Emilio Bruna and I were both born in México and our mother and father are from Mexico and Cuba, respectively. My wife, Dr. Heather Fullerton, is a microbiologist at the College of Charleston.
Download my curriculum vitae.