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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Faculty & Staff Directory

Sarah Horton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Email: Sarah Horton
Office Location: Administration Building 270L
Phone: (303) 556-6083
Fax: (303) 556-8501
Office hours: On sabbatical, AY 2014-15
Areas of Expertise:  anthropology/medical anthropology, transnational migration, citizenship, Latino health, cross-border health

Education & Degrees

Ph.D., University of New Mexico, 2003
M.Phil, Columbia University, 1996
B.A., Brown University, 1992


Dr. Horton is a medical anthropologist whose research interests include migration and health, the global linkages between health care systems, farm worker health and cross-border health. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 2003, and did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard University from 2003 until 2005. She was research faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, from 2005 until 2007, where she served as lead ethnographer on a project funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research that examined the causes of oral health disparities for Latino farmworker children in California's Central Valley.

Dr. Horton's research in the Central Valley examined the dietary, environmental, and cultural factors that contributed to the high rates of oral disease among Latino farm working children. Placing immigrant children's oral health disparities in a transnational framework, she examined how Latino immigrant parents’ own experiences with oral health in their countries of origin shaped their caregiving practices. She also examined the role of dental Medicaid policy in contributing to farm worker children’s untreated oral disease, and in permanently altering their physiognomies in ways that marked them as "second-class citizens."

She is currently examining the global linkages between health care systems through migration, medical tourism, and the “outsourcing” of health care by health insurance companies. Her current research examines what the articulation of the US and Mexican health care systems means for three distinct groups in the U.S.: 1) middle class medical travelers; 2) health insurance companies; and 3) unauthorized immigrants. Her project explores the contradictions of a global “free trade” in health care and how free market health care paradoxically expands the illicit and informal health care sectors as health becomes a commodity.

Select Publications

2010 “Stigmatized Biologies: The Bio-cultural and Policy Context Behind Mexican American Farm Worker Children’s Poor Oral Health.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 24(2):199-219.

2009 “Stains on Their Self-Discipline: Public Health, Hygiene, and the Disciplining of Undocumented Immigrant Parents in the Nation’s Internal Borderlands.” American Ethnologist 36(4): 784-98. First author, with Judith C. Barker.

2009 “Embodied Inequalities: Oral Health and Social Stigma among Farrmworker Young Adults.” Revista Palimsestus 6 (In Spanish). Special issue on Ethics, Capitalism, Health. First author, with Judith C. Barker.

2008 “An Ethnographic Study of Latino Preschool Children’s Oral Health in Rural California: Intersections among Family, Community, Provider and Regulatory Sectors.” BMC Oral Health 8(8). Judith C. Barker, first author.

2008 “Rural Latino Immigrant Parents’ Conceptions of Oral Disease.” First author, with Judith C. Barker. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 68(1): 22-29.

2007 “Towards an Ethnography of the Uninsured: Gay Becker’s Work in Progress.” Medical Anthropology 26 (4): 293-298.

2006 “The Double Burden on Safety Net Providers: Placing Health Disparities in the Context of the Privatization of U.S. Health Care.” Social Science & Medicine 63(10): 2702-2714.

2005 “Los Inmigrantes Cubanos y Mexicanos en el Sistema de Salud Pública de los Estados Unidos.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología 40: 61-84. Special Issue: Anthropological Perspectives on Public Health.

Courses Taught

Anth 2102: Culture and the Human Experience
Anth 3000: Globalization
Anth 3101: Foundations of Cultural Anthropology
Anth 4300/5300: Migrant Health
Anth 4600/5600: Medical Anthropology: Anthropology of the Clinic