Faculty Biography

Marianne Sarkis  

Marianne Sarkis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor,
Department of International Development, Community, and Environment

Program Coordinator,
Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Master of Health Science in Community and Global Health

Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

phone: (508) 421-3898
email: msarkis@clarku.edu


Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, Florida State University, 2010
M.A. in Applied Medical Anthropology, University of South Florida, 2002
B.A. in Anthropology and Philosophy, Indiana University of PA, 1993

Research Interests

Health disparities and social determinants of health, health and hard-to-reach populations, urban health problems (sexual exploitation, opioids), immigration and health, culture in clinical encounters, diasporic health, demographic anthropology, Participatory Action Research (PAR), Community-Based Health Research (CBHR), Patient-Centered and Community-Engaged Research, Somali history and culture, advocacy anthropology, Social Networks Analysis (SNA).


Dr. Sarkis is an applied medical anthropologist who focuses on contemporary urban health issues including social determinants of health and health disparities and inequities. Her current work focuses on sexual exploitation, opioids, and gangs as public health concerns. She uses a community-based participatory approach to work with hard-to-reach populations to identify needs, priorities, and research agendas.

Previously, Dr. Sarkis focused on African-born health experiences in the US. While most of her work has centered on women’s reproductive health and experiences, she has expanded her research to include structural inequalities, health disparities, and access to medical services for all African-born immigrants and refugees. She integrated storytelling for health education and trust building with immigrant populations.

Dr. Sarkis teaches courses mostly related to gender and health, community-based health research, Social Network Analysis, and refugee and immigrant health.

She is the former co-chair of Akwaaba Free Clinic in Worcester, and was president of the board of UHAI for Health, Inc. a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives of the marginalized African population both in Worcester and in Kenya through health education and promotion, research, screening and referral.

In addition to her research, Sarkis worked as a software engineer and graphics designer in Silicon Valley, and continues to work as a web designer/engineer for national non-profits and advocacy organizations.

Selected Publications

2014   Alumni Perceptions of their Progress on Four Learning Outcomes: An Analysis Comparing Four LEEP Learning Outcomes with AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes Using HEDS Data. Worcester, MA: Clark University.

2013    Students' Perceptions of their Progress on Four Learning Outcomes: An Analysis Comparing Four LEEP Learning Outcomes with AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes Using NSSE Data. Worcester, MA: Clark University.

2009     Somali Womanhood: A Re-Visioning. In Empathy and Rage: FGM in Creative Writing. Tobe Levin and Augustine Asaah, eds. Lynn Reiner Press.

2008     Review of Hernlund, Y., and B. Shell-Duncan. 2007. Transcultural bodies: female genital cutting in global context. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. Studies in Family Planning 39(3).

2004     Female Cutting and Anthropology: What took us so long to come around? In Flesh and Blood: Perspectives on the Problem of Circumcision in Contemporary Society. G.C. Denniston, F.M. Hodges, and M.F. Milos, eds. Pp. 119-132. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

1999     Activism on the World Wide Web: The role of the Internet in the dissemination of circumcision-related information. In Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal, and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice. G.C. Denniston, F.M. Hodges, and M.F. Milos, eds. Pp. 351-356. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publisher.