Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Tracey Heatherington

Committee Members

Cheryl Ajirotutu, Paul Brodwin, Kristin Ruggiero, Steffan Igor Ayora Díaz


Health Care, Immigration, Latinos, Medical Anthropology, Medical Pluralism, Traditional Medicine


As a result of exclusionary state and federal policy decisions on immigration and health care, marginalized immigrants often seek health care in the shadows of U.S. cities through practitioners such as curandera/os (healers), huesera/os (bonesetters), parteras (midwives), and sobadora/es (massagers). under the radar of biomedical practice. This research focuses on this phenomenon in the context of globalized social networks and health care practices of marginalized Latino immigrants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and within the broader economic and political context in this country. Latino immigrants continue practicing forms of their medicine even after immigrating to this country. People do not just throw away their cultural understandings of the body, of healing, birthing and illness when they cross international borders; rather, as I suggest in this research, these understandings become translated to fit into a new transnational context. People do not arrive to the U.S. as blank slates; they arrive as peoples with discernible cultural traditions. Immigrants to this country not only bring rich cultural foods and language to their new locations, they bring with them a rich history of medicinal and healing knowledge that includes traditional pharmacopoeias. This project draws from the medical anthropology literature, particularly from the areas of women's health and medical pluralism. Additionally, it draws on the broader literature on immigration, transnationalism and social networking.