Medical Anthropologist Sara Quandt ’73 Examines U.S. Health Disparities in Honors Convocation

Sara Quandt, a professor in the department of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine, examines the health inequities and social justice challenges faced by rural and minority populations in Lawrence University’s final convocation of the 2010-11 academic year.

Sara Quandt '73

A 1973 Lawrence graduate, Quandt presents “It Takes a Community: Collaborating to Reduce Health Disparities in the U.S.” Tuesday, May 17 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. She also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema. Both events are free and open to the public.

The annual honors convocation publicly recognizes students and faculty recipients of awards and prizes for excellence in the arts, athletics, humanities, sciences, social sciences, languages and music as well as service to others. Students elected to honor societies also will be recognized. Students and faculty members cited were presented their awards at a banquet May 12.

An applied medical anthropologist, Quandt works on programs to correct the health disparities experienced by rural and minority populations. Her research has focused on occupational health concerns of Latino immigrant farm workers and poultry processing workers, particularly pesticide exposure, green tobacco sickness and occupational injuries and illnesses. The findings have been used for education and policy change interventions to reduce health disparities.

Quandt also has investigated issues related to food and nutrition among older rural residents, including self-management of diabetes and the impact of oral health deficits on diet and social interaction.

She joined Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s department of public health in 1994 after spending 11 years on the faculty of the University of Kentucky.

Her efforts have been recognized with the National Rural Health Association’s  2007 Outstanding Rural Health Researcher Award, the National Occupational Research Agenda Innovative Research Award for Worker Health and Safety and the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists’  2003 Praxis Award.

Quandt earned a bachelor of arts degree summa cum laude in anthropology from Lawrence before completing her master’s and doctorate degrees in anthropology with a minor in human nutrition at Michigan State University. She conducted post-doctoral training at the National Science Foundation Summer Institute on Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida.