University of Pittsburgh
May 15, 2001


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, May 16 -- Kathleen M. DeWalt, professor of anthropology and public health at the University of Pittsburgh and co-director of the interdisciplinary master's of arts in bioethics, has been named director of Pitt's Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), effective July 1, 2001.

In announcing the appointment, William Brustein, director of Pitt's University Center for International Studies (UCIS), said, "Kathleen brings to the position unrivaled knowledge of Latin America and superb scholarly and administrative skills. I believe that under her guidance, CLAS will not only maintain, but further enhance, its position as one of the foremost Latin American and Caribbean studies programs in the world."

DeWalt, who will maintain her current positions at the University, is a cultural anthropologist whose main research interests are in medical and nutritional anthropology, drawing on perspectives from both biocultural anthropology and political economy. She is a renowned multidisciplinary scholar on the Latin American and Caribbean region.

"The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh is one of the premier Latin American studies centers in the country," said DeWalt. "It has an outstanding staff, draws on a world-class group of affiliated scholars, and has enjoyed an unbroken line of strong leadership.

"Over the years, CLAS has taken a leadership role in facilitating the development of resources – human, scholarly, and financial, for promoting scholarship, education, and service concerning Latin America in the University and in the Pittsburgh community. It is an honor to be associated with CLAS and to be asked to take a more active role in its further development. I look forward to working with CLAS staff and affiliated faculty and scholars to continue the development of all of the key elements off the mission of the University and the Center."

DeWalt received her PhD from the University of Connecticut in 1979. She began her professional career at the University of Kentucky in 1978 as assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Science, was promoted to associate professor in 1984, and professor in 1992. At Kentucky, she also served as director of graduate studies in the Department of Behavioral Studies, 1987-89 and 1990-93. This program included students studying medical anthropology, medical sociology, and health psychology. DeWalt supervised students in all of these programs, collaborated with colleagues from a number of disciplines and departments, and managed a National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored Training Program in Medical Behavior Science. She joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in September 1993.

DeWalt is the author or coauthor of four books and more than 40 articles that focus on the impact of economic and agricultural development policies on health and nutrition in Latin America, child survival and adult health in developing countries, nutrition and health of older adults and youth in rural settings in the United States, health decision making in pluralistic settings, and research methodology. She has carried out research in Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Ecuador, and the United States.

DeWalt's recent administrative experience includes service as chair of the Department of Anthropology in 1995-96, and associate dean of Arts and Sciences for Graduate Study and Research in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 1996-99.

DeWalt has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator of numerous research grants and contracts with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the United States Agency for International Development.

She is a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association and of the Society for Applied Anthropology, and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Nutrition, Association for Women in Development, Council on Nutritional Anthropology (president 1986-88), Latin American Studies Association, Society for Medical Anthropology, and Society for International Nutrition Research.

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