This week we feature Karen Baw Vang, our Research Assistant Intern for the Traditions of Health Project. CCUIH’s Traditions of Health Project advances the cultural revitalization efforts of our Urban Indian Health Organizations through policy reform and sustainability planning for American Indian Traditional and cultural practices. Karen’s  academic background and drive is invaluable to this project, which she supports through qualitative analysis and literature review.

Read her bio in her own words below:

Hello! My name is Karen Baw Vang. I am a recent UC Berkeley graduate with a BA in Anthropology with a concentration in Medical Anthropology. While at UC Berkeley, I wrote a senior honors thesis on illness, shamanism, and inter-generational loss and transmission among the exilic Hmong communities in California. Blending theoretical frameworks of mourning and melancholia with traditional Hmong conceptual thinking of Ntuj faib sa—the Heavens the dividing the world between life and death, day and night, and the living and dead—the thesis was awarded with the Frankenburg Prize for best departmental thesis in critical medical anthropology.

My interest, experience and passion for traditional health and medicine lead me to CCUIH, where I am an intern assisting with the Traditions of Health Project. I hope that my experiences and skills will be advantageous for CCUIH and the communities that it serves. It’s been a privilege to be part of this great organization, community and all of its amazing work. Aside from CCUIH, I am also an Oakland Reading Corps Literacy Tutor. I serve adorable Transitional-Kindergarten students at Achieve Academy in Oakland, CA.

As for my future plans, I hope to further develop my interests in shamanism, traditional medicine, violence, trauma, psychological and medical anthropology. My goal is to someday pursue a PhD to continue my studies to be able to further support and explore traditional health and medicine.