Dr. Pamela Runestad, Assistant Professor, Medical Anthropology


 Creighton Hall 426A

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Mail Address

Pamela Runestad, PhD
Department of Cultural and Social Studies
Creighton Hall #441
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 67178-0450

Professional Vitae



I have always been interested in “how things work.” When I was an undergraduate, I majored in Biology and English because I liked finding out how bodies and things like infectious disease pathogens worked and I liked writing. I was a psychology minor because I wanted to find out why and how people thought what they thought. It wasn’t until I started looking at graduate programs while I was living in Japan when I found medical anthropology – and then I had this thought, “where has THIS been all my life!?” With anthropology, I found a discipline where I could put all my interests together: bodies, minds, culture, society, narrative, and even infectious disease and nutrition.  

My research is on living with HIV/AIDS in Japan, and how what people think about a stigmatizing, chronic disease influences everything from disease rates to treatment and prevention. I also have a local project, a joint effort with Dr. Becky Davis in Nursing, aimed at improving refugee health through diet here in Omaha.

I teach Introduction to Anthropology: Social Determinants of Health (ANT 113), Cultural Epidemiology (ANT 383), and (De)colonizing Bodies (ANT 361) which is part of a Faculty-Led Program Abroad to Hawaii and the Philippines (along with historians Dr. Mike Hawkins and Dr. Tracy Leavelle). I also teach graduate courses on food and nutrition, and on medical anthropology theory.