Ruthbeth Finerman

Ruthbeth Finerman


316 Manning Hall, Memphis, TN 38152
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About Dr. Finerman

Dr. Finerman received her PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles. She specializes in research and teaching in applied medical anthropology, focusing on family health and caregiving, international health services delivery, reproductive health and childbirth, ethnomedicine and ethnobotany, mental health, and program evaluation to improve healthcare quality and access for underserved populations. She was a Fulbright Scholar, and has received the University of Memphis Outstanding Young Researcher Award, the University of Memphis Distinguished Teaching Award, the College of Arts and Science Excellence in Teaching Award, the Thomas Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award, and Dunavant Professorship.

Expertise and Interests

Applied medical anthropology, family health and caregiving, reproductive
health and childbirth; ethnomedicine and ethnobotany; mental health;
international health services delivery, health program evaluation, health
disparities and barriers to care among US immigrant, refugee, and economically
disadvantaged populations; indigenous and peasant populations in South and
Central America.

Research Projects

Dr. Finerman has 30 years of fieldwork experience among indigenous and peasant populations in South and Central America, including a longitudinal study of medical change and medicinal plant use in Andean Ecuador, and an evaluation of child survival programs in Guatemala. She has served as consultant or technical advisor on health projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Health Organization. Research in Memphis includes enhanced health services delivery to immigrant and refugee groups, and populations facing health disparities. She collaborates with local agencies such as the Shelby County Health Department, Methodist Healthcare, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on infant mortality prevention, access to long acting reversible contraception for underserved and at-risk populations, teen parenting support services, infection control, transportation barriers for people living with HIV/AIDS, barriers to health services among Latino immigrants and economically disadvantaged populations, and cultural competency training for local health providers.   

Selected Publications 

Submitted, In Review   K. Johnson, R. Finerman, M. González, M. Melgar, F. Antillon-Klussman, M. Caniza. Understanding Hand Hygiene Behavior in a Pediatric Oncology Unit in a Low Middle Income Country: A Focus Group Approach. Submitted: Journal of Infectious Disease.

2015  Finerman, R., A. Sanders, and L. Sagrestano. Pregnancy and Birth as a Medical Crisis. In: The Wrong Prescription for Women: How Medicine and Media Create a "Need" for Treatments, Drugs, and Surgery, M.C. McHugh and J.C. Chrisler, Eds. ISBN: 978-1-4408-3176-8 ABC/CLIO.

2014  Finerman, R. God's Laboratory: Assisted Reproduction in the Andes by Elizabeth F. S. Roberts. American Anthropologist 116(4):889-890.

2014  Sagrestano, L., R. Finerman, J. Clay. The Medical Management of Pregnancy. In: The Wrong Prescription for Women, Joan Chrisler, Editor. Praeger/ABC-CLIO. ISBN: 978-1440831768

2014  Finerman, Ruthbeth. Family and Physical Health. The Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society.  William Cockerham, Robert Dingwall, and Stella Wuah, Editors. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-4443-3076-2.

2013  Sagrestano, L., J. Clay, and R. Finerman. Transportation vulnerability as a barrier to service utilization for HIV-positive individuals.  AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2013.819403.

2014  Sagrestano, L., R. Finerman, J. Clay, T. Diener, N. Edney, A.F. Madjlesi. Shelby County Teen Plus Program Evaluation Addendum. US DHHS, Shelby County Health Department, and Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth.

2012  Sagrestano, L. and R. Finerman.  Pregnancy and Prenatal Care. In: Reproductive Justice: A Global Concern, pp. 201-230, Joan Chrisler, Editor. Praeger Psychology of Women Series. ISBN: 10: 0313393397.

Selected Awards


Additional Resources