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Sarah S. Willen

Associate Professor of Anthropology & Director, Research Program on Global Health & Human Rights at the Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut
Chapter Member: Connecticut SSN
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Sarah

About Sarah

Willen is a medical anthropologist who studies how structural inequities limit people’s chances of leading healthy and flourishing lives. She has published widely on issues of illegalized migration, migration and health, health and human rights activism, and other topics. Willen is Principal Investigator of ARCHES | the AmeRicans’ Conceptions of Health Equity Study (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), Co-Founder of the Pandemic Journaling Project, and Co-PI of an NSF-funded study on how Covid-19 is affecting first-generation college students and their families. She serves on several editorial boards, including Social Science & Medicine and Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry.

In the News

Guest to discuss Flourishing and Health in Critical Perspective on SSM – Mental Health Video Podcast, Sarah S. Willen (with Emily Mendenhall), April 13, 2022.

Publications

"Flourishing and Health in Critical Perspective: An Invitation to Interdisciplinary Dialogue" SSM - Mental Health 2 (2022).

Argues that now is an opportune moment to step back and take stock of the range of ways in which researchers, clinicians, activists, funders, and policymakers are thinking about flourishing, especially in relation to questions of mental health and well-being. In this conversation, the critical social sciences of health have important roles to play.

"Rethinking Flourishing: Critical Insights and Qualitative Perspectives From the U.S. Midwest" (with Sarah S. Willen, Colleen C. Walsh, Mikayla Hyman, and William Tootle Jr.). SSM - Mental Health 2 (2022).

Discusses how In recent years, human flourishing and its relationship to mental health have attracted significant attention. Mentions that as an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods team rooted in the critical social sciences of health, we are intrigued by the possibility that a focus on flourishing may reinvigorate health research, policy, and clinical care -- but argue that current proposals must be met with caution.

Flourishing and Health in Critical Perspective: An Invitation to Interdisciplinary Dialogue (Science Direct, 2022).

Mentions that in recent years, flourishing has become a topic of interest in a wide range of health-related fields; in some policy circles; and even in the corporate sector. Discusses how given this burgeoning and wide-ranging interest, this special issue proposes that now is an opportune moment to step back and take stock of the range of ways in which scholars, clinicians, policymakers, and funders are thinking about flourishing.