Sarah S. Willen

Principal Investigator

Sarah S. Willen is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, where she also directs the Research Program on Global Health & Human Rights at the Human Rights Institute. A medical and sociocultural anthropologist, she is author or editor of four books, seven special issues, and several dozen articles and book chapters on issues of irregular migration, migration and health, health and human rights, dignity, flourishing, and constructions of “deservingness,” among other topics. Her first book, Fighting for Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel’s Margins (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), has received multiple awards, including the Stirling Prize from the Society for Psychological Anthropology (2020), the Edie Turner First-Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology (2020), and the Yonathan Shapiro Prize for Best Book in Israel Studies from the Association for Israel Studies (2019). 

Dr. Willen is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University (BA) and Emory University (PhD, MPH) and a former NIMH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research has received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright-Hayes, the Wenner Gren Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), among other funders. A third-generation native Clevelander, she is Principal Investigator of the RWJF-funded ARCHES | the AmeRicans’ Conceptions of Health Equity Study, Co-Principal Investigator of an NSF-funded study on how Covid-19 is affecting first-generation college students and their families, and Co-Founder of the Pandemic Journaling Project.

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