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Emily K. Brunson

Texas State University Applied Anthropology, Dr. Brunson, Cultural Anthropology Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Washington
Phone: (512) 245-6753
Office: ELA 237

Curriculum Vita (pdf download)

Research and Teaching Interests
Medical anthropology, applied anthropology, service learning, qualitative methods, social network analysis, vaccination, health care access, health disparities, health policy, health communication

Current Research

I am an applied anthropologist specializing in medical anthropology. I received an MPH in epidemiology and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Washington in Seattle.

My primary research focus is health care access and decision-making, and particularly how policies, social structures (including class and racial inequalities), social networks and personal experience combine to produce health outcomes for individuals.

Currently I am developing research plans and conducting policy outreach in relation to COVID-19 vaccination (with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security) and working on a study of COVID-19 vaccination knowledge, attitudes and behavior among college students. 

As an applied anthropologist, I am also actively engaged in local, applied projects. Students in my Community Research Project class recently finished an evaluation for Meals on Wheels Central Texas and I am a board member for the non-profit Capacity Catalyst.

Selected Publications

Schoch-Spana M, Brunson E, Long R, Ravi S, Ruth A, Trotochaud M on behalf of the Working Group on Readying Populations for COVID-19 Vaccine. 2020. The Public’s Role in COVID-19 Vaccination: Planning Recommendations Informed by Design Thinking and the Social, Behavioral, and Communication Sciences. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Brunson EK, Schoch-Spana M. 2020. A social and behavioral research agenda to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the United States. Health Security 18(4):1-7.

Mulligan J, Brunson EK. 2020. Structures of resentment: On feeling—and being—left behind by health care reform. Cultural Anthropology 35(2):317-343.

Schoch-Spana M, Brunson EK, Biddison ELD, Toner E, Gwon HS, Regenberg AC. 2020. Influence of community and culture in the ethical allocation of scarce medical resources in a pandemic situation. Journal of Participatory Medicine 12(1):e18272. 

Brunson EK, Schoch-Spana M, Chandler H, Gronvall GK, Ravi S, Sell TK, Shearer M. 2020. The SPARS pandemic 2025-2028: A futuristic scenario to facilitate medical countermeasure communication. Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research 3(1):71-102.

Brunson EK, Mulligan J, Andaya EL, Melo MA, Sered S. 2018. Unrequited engagement: Misadventures in advocating for Medicaid expansion. American Anthropologist 120(3):601-609.

Schoch-Spana M, Brunson EK, Chandler HC, Gronvall GK, Ravi S, Sell TK, Shearer MP. 2018. Recommendations on how to manage anticipated communication dilemmas involving medical countermeasures in an emergency. Public Health Reports 133(4):366-378.

Brunson EK. 2017. “Texans don’t want health insurance”: Social class and the ACA in a red state. In Unequal Coverage: The Experience of Health Care Reform in the United States, pp. 177-202. H Castaneda and J Mulligan, eds. New York: NYU Press.

Brunson EK, Sobo EJ. 2017. Framing childhood vaccination in the USA: Getting past polarization. Human Organization 76(1):38-47.

Brunson EK. 2015. Identifying parents who are amenable to pro-vaccination conversations. Global Pediatric Health 2:1-7.

Brunson EK. 2013. How parents make decisions about their children’s vaccinations. Vaccine 31(46):5466-5470.

Brunson EK. 2013. The impact of social networks on parents’ vaccination decisions. Pediatrics 131(5):1397-1404.

News and Projects

Students in ANTH 3336/5336 (Community Research Project) recently completed a service learning project on behalf of Meals on Wheels Central Texas (MOWCTX).

A video of the project can be found on the Community Research Project webpage.

Courses Taught

ANTH 1312: Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 3311: Disease and Society
ANTH 3325: Medical Anthropology
ANTH 3336/5336: Community Research Project
ANTH 4309: Culture, Medicine and the Body
ANTH 4361: Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 5325: Seminar in Medical Anthropology
ANTH 5361: Qualitative Methods
ANTH 7352: Advanced Qualitative Methods