Mary Alice Scott

Associate Professor of Anthropology, New Mexico State University
Chapter Member: New Mexico SSN

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About Mary

Scott is a medical anthropologist whose research interests include critical ethnographic analysis of health, health care, and health policy in the United States, with particular focus on the U.S.-Mexico border region. She is also interested in participatory methodologies and action-oriented research. 

Scott is a member of the Doña Ana County Wellness Institute, an organization that convenes agencies and individuals working to address health equity in the county. Her research focuses on teaching and learning health equity in medical education and addressing structural causes of burnout in primary care.

In the News

Mary Alice Scott's research on anthropology behind repellants discussed by Billy Huntsman, "Research Seeks Homemade Mosquito Repellant," Las Cruces Sun News, August 4, 2018.
"History Project Seeks Stories From Rural New Mexicans," Mary Alice Scott, Interview with Ellen Lockyer, Sante Fe Public Radio, July 13, 2018.
Mary Alice Scott's research on rural New Mexico discussed by "NMSU Researchers Compiling Oral History of Mid-Century New Mexico," Las Cruces Sun News, July 4, 2018.


"Increasing Access, Increasing Responsibility: Activating the Newly Insured" (with Richard Wright), in Unequal Coverage: The Experience of Health Care Reform in the United States, edited by Heide Casteñeda and Jessica Mulligan (New York University Press, 2018).

Examines how a free clinic became a federally qualified health center following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. Describes the challenges clinic staff faced in transitioning to an FQHC.

"Interprofessional Immersion: Use of Interprofessional Education Collaborative Competencies in Side-by-Side Training of Family Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Counselling Psychology Trainees" (with Daubney Harper Boland, Helen Kim, Traci White, and Eve Adams). Journal of Interprofessional Care 30, no. 6 (2016): 739-746.

Describes the implementation and evaluation of an interprofessional training for graduate-level healthcare trainees. The results suggest that after completing the training, trainees felt more confident in their ability to work within an interprofessional team and more likely to utilise a team-based approach in the future.

"The Critical Pedagogy of Mentoring: Undergraduate Researchers as Mentors in Youth Participatory Action Research" (with Kimberly B. Pyne, Molly O’Brien, Andrew Stevenson, and Muhammad Musah). Collaborative Anthropologies 7, no. 1 (2014): 50-83.

Discusses the involvement of undergraduate researchers as near-peer mentors in a youth participatory action research project with high school students that addressed local educational inequities.

"The Social Life of Coca-Cola in Southern Veracruz, Mexico: How Women Navigate Public Health Messages and Social Support through Drink" in Women Redefining the Experience of Food Insecurity: Life Off the Edge of the Table, edited by Janet Page-Reeves (Lexington Books, 2014), 227-242.

Draws from experience with navigating the complexities of consuming Coca-Cola and other soft drinks as a starting point to examine the conflicting roles that such drinks played in the lives of women in Los Canales, Veracruz, Mexico. Argues that in order to understand the seeming conflict between women's recognition of the health consequences of drinking soft drinks and continued extensive use of them, one must move beyond simple notions of non-compliance, fatalism, and lack of proper education. Instead, a broader understanding of health and well-being that includes conceptions of respect, enjoyment, safety, and sociality in the context of a lack of resources to maintain healthy diets is necessary.

"Paying Down the Care Deficit: The Health Consequences for Grandmothers Caring for Grandchildren in a Mexican Migrant Community of Origin" Anthropology & Aging Quarterly 33, no. 4 (2012): 142-151.

Focuses on the health consequences of care work for grandmothers in southern Veracruz, Mexico who assume the primary responsibility for caring for their grandchildren when the parents migrate out of the community.