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Joyce Millen

Associate Professor of Anthropology, African Studies and Public Health

Headshot of Joyce Millen

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Eaton Hall 418
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301

History and Interests

Professor Joyce Millen has been teaching Medical/Health Anthropology and African Studies at Willamette University since 2005. Prior to joining the Willamette faculty she was Director of the Institute for Health and Social Justice of Partners In Health in Boston, MA where she also taught in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In addition to a doctorate in medical anthropology, she also holds degrees in public health and international relations. Millen has conducted extensive ethnomedical and epidemiological research in West Africa, particularly in Senegal where she lived for eight years. Millen’s current research explores refugee health and wellbeing and “diasporas for development” within the specific context of Africa's crisis in human resources for health.


2003    PhD in Anthropology (Medical), University of Connecticut
1994    MPH (Master of Public Health), University of Connecticut Medical Center
1984    BA in International Relations, Tulane University

Academic Appointments

2005-          Willamette University
2004-2005  Honorary Visiting Research Associate, Massey University, New Zealand
1995-2004  Research Fellow in Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School


  • ANTH 150: Controversies and Issues in Cultural Anthropology
  • Global Health through Film
  • ANTH 232: Peoples and Cultures of Africa
  • People on the Move: Introduction to Transnational Migration
  • ANTH 344: Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 371W: Survey of Anthropological Theory
  • ANTH 499W: Senior Research Methods Seminar
    See course descriptions

Advising and Mentoring

Professor Millen mentors students interested in conducting collaborative or independent summer research.

She advises students interested in pursuing careers in international migration, public health, and global health.

She also guides students interested in working in Africa or volunteering for the United States Peace Corps.


Books Authored

Irwin, Alexander, Joyce Millen, and Dorothy Fallows. Global AIDS: Myths and Facts, Tools for Fighting the AIDS Pandemic. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2003. (also published in Spanish and Japanese)

Books Edited

Kim, Jim Yong, Joyce V. Millen, Alec Irwin and John Gershman, eds. Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2000.

*For a list of book chapters, journal articles, and other publications please see CV.

Awards and Honors

  • 2017    American Anthropological Association/Oxford University Press Award for 
                Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology
  • 2017    Willamette University Mortar Board Professor of the Year
  • 2008    The Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in the Humanities
  • 2006    Willamette University Mortar Board Honorable Mention for Professor of the Year

Research Projects

  • 2017-        Ethnographic research of refugee resettlement in Northwest, United
  • 2015-2017 Environmental health challenges and lack of corporate over-site
                     in West Africa.
  • 2009-2016 Multi-sited ethnographic research on "diasporas for development"
                     with focus on diasporic engagement in homeland health.
                     Research conducted in Senegal, Ghana, France, and US/funded by the 
                     National Science Foundation.    
  • 2006-2009 Multi-sited ethnographic research examining the exodus of medical
                     personnel out of Africa. Conducted in US, Uganda, Ghana, Switzerland
                     and France. Funded by the Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in the
                     Humanities, Willamette University Lilly Project and Atkinson Faculty
                     Development Award.
  • 1995-2003 Multiple and varied research projects of the Institute for Health and 
                     Social Justice, Partners In Health. Research studies included: the health
                     effects of World Bank policies in 14 resource-poor countries; the impact of
                     specific World Trade Organization treatise on access to life-saving
                     medicines in countries with high HIV seroprevalence; the human health
                     effects of transnational corporate labor practices, promotional activities
                     and political influence.  
  • 1993-1994 Doctoral Dissertation Field Research among the Jola in Southwestern,
                     Senegal, West Africa. Ethnographic, ethnomedical and epidemiological
                     study of changing morbidity and mortality patterns over four generations.
                     Research funded by Fulbright Scholarship.
  • 1992          Master of Public Health Field Research among the Bassari in Eastern
                     Senegal, West Africa. Multi-sited ethnomedical study examining health and
                     social change and local health effects of Ministry of Health reform policies.
                     Funded through University of Connecticut Office of International Studies.
  • 1991          Research Consultant, Health Department, Manchester, Connecticut. 
                     Designed and implemented citywide study on access to addiction
                     rehabilitation, health care and health-supporting services.

Sample of Conference Papers and Invited Lectures

  • 2019:    Organized Panel for Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meetings
                March  19-23. Panel title: Oregon Immigrants and Refugees Organize for  
  • 2017:    Guest Lecture: Beyond the Clinic and the Lab: Social Scientific Insights  
                 into the Study of Cancer-Institute for Continued Learning, February.
  • 2017:    Diasporic Medical Philanthropy and the Politics of Care. The Cascadia Seminar
                in Medical Anthropology, April.
  • 2016:    Resisting Global Health Inequality: Unsung Heroes of the African Diaspora.
                Global Studies Association, Austin, Texas. June.
  • 2016:    Continuities of Care: West African Diaspora Engagement in Homeland Health.
                American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Minneapolis,
                Minnesota. November.
  • 2015:   Revising the Narrative: Africa Saves Africa. The African Studies Association
                Annual Meeting. San Diego, California. November.
  • 2015:   Invited Lecture: Cascade RPCV: Introduction to Medical Philanthropy. June.
  • 2014:   Invited Lecture: Oregon State University Lifelong Learning Program.
  • 2013:   Invited Panelist for Health Research Panel and Invited Discussant. African
                Studies Association Annual Meetings in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 2013:   Presidential Lecture “Bringing Resources Home: Health Philanthropy among
                the Ghanaian Diaspora" presented with Professor Amadou Fofana and
                research collaborator Hannah Harper at the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons
                Foundation Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in April 2013.
  • 2013:   Invited lecture and panel chair at Oregon State University 2013 International
                Health Conference in April 2013. "From Foreign Aid and Development to
                Solidarity and Self-Determination.
  • 2013:   Invited lecture at Bastyr Medical University in Seattle, Washington in May
  • 2013:   “Global Health: Diasporas for Health Development”
  • 2012:   “European-led Co-Development: A Critical Gaze (Senegal / France)” Paper
                delivered at the African Studies Association Meeting in Philadelphia,
                November. Organized panel of four papers: "Done Waiting: When African
                States Fail to Deliver, Afripolitans are Stepping In" Presented at the African
                Studies Association Meeting in Philadelphia, November.
  • 2012:   “Cheetahs on the Run: An Exploration of Brain-Gain Potential for Africa"
                Guest lecture at the Institute for Continued Learning, Willamette University.
  • 2011:   “Philoblidarity: New Paradigms for a More Authentic African Independence”
                 Invited Lecture, University of Oregon, African Studies Lecture Series,
                 November 10, 2011.
  • 2010:   “A Multi-Sited Interdisciplinary Study of West African Diaspora Engagement in
                 Homeland Health" Presented at the Fifth International Conference on
                 Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge,
                 United Kingdom 2-5 August.
  • 2009:    Invited speaker for Global AIDS Conference. University of Oregon, Eugene.
                April 2009.
  • 2009:    “Cooperation or Cooptation? A Critical Analysis of African Diasporic
                 Engagement” Invited Keynote Lecture for the Institute for African
                 Development of Cornell University. February 26.
Willamette University

Global Cultural Studies

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem OR 97301 U.S.A.