Andrea Sankar

Andrea Sankar

on sabbatical


313-577-5958 (fax)

3043 FAB

Andrea Sankar

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Medical Anthropology
  • Care
  • Environmental Health
  • Death and Dying


  • B.A. University of Michigan-Chinese
  • Ph.D. University of Michigan-Anthropology
  • NIMH Post-doc University of California-San Fransisco
  • NIA Post-doc University of Michigan

Awards and grants

  • 2012-2014, Co-PI. Erb Foundation, Improving community awareness for Detroit River fish consumption advisories, $95,000.

  • 2011-2013, PI Bio-monitoring of Persistent Toxic Substances in Michigan Urban Fish Eaters: Venue Based Sampling Michigan Department of Community Health, $202,500

  • 2013, Invited Speaker Medical Anthropology and Ecology, National Science Council of China, Taiwan

  • 2006-2013, Society Medical Anthropology Executive Committee

  • 2006-2013, Editor Medical Anthropology Quarterly

  • 2009-2006, PI Rwanda-Prevention for Positives: Intervention-linked Research Targeting HIV infected People USAID, $97,000.

  • 2008, “Masters of Anthropology” at “Dialoguing with the Masters: Advanced Training in Anthropology” hosted by the Academia Sinica’s Institute of Ethnology. Invited Faculty Mentor, National Science Council of China, Taiwan

  • 2005-2006, Co-investigator, “Patient Provider Communication and Outcomes in HIV Care”, Agency for Health Research and Quality, AHRQ-01-0012

  • 2007, AGEP (Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate) Faculty Mentor of the Year

  • 2004-2007, PI HAART Minority Supplement, NIH 3 RO1 AI04113, $87,757.00

  • 2004-2006, PI, “Physician/ Patient Communication in HIV+ African Americans’ Adherence to ART” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease., RO1 AI 49113, $137,113.

  • 2001-2006, PI, “HAART Adherence among HIV+ African Americans,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, # RO1 AI 49113-01, $3,119,668.

  • 2001-2002, CoPI “Overcoming the Digital Divide: African American Use of the Internet for Breast Cancer Information” State of Michigan. $95.000

  • 2003 - present, Fellow, Society for Applied Anthropology

  • 2000-2002, AARR-8 NIH Study Section Chair

  • 2000, Wayne State University Alumni Association Faculty Service Award

  • 2000, President’s Distinguished Service Award, Wayne State University

  • 2000, President’s Recognition for Outstanding Scholarly Achievements, Wayne State University

  • 1999-2002, Executive Committee, General Anthropology Division, American Anthropological Association

  • 1997-2001, Permanent NIH Study Section Member, Committee on AIDS and Immunology Research, NIH

  • 1999-00, PI “Risk Behavior by HIV+ African Americans Receiving Protease Inhibitor (PI) Therapy,” NIH Office on AIDS Research, #R01-MH54391, $97,000

  • 1996-1999, PI “African Americans and HIV: The Caregiving Experience,” National Institute of Mental Health, #R01-MH54391, $1,44,368.00.

  • 1999, PI “African American Community Health Forums,” Charity Motors, $5,000.

  • 1999, PI “African American Community Health Forums,” Blue Cross/Blue Shield Community Foundation of Michigan, $1,500

  • 1999, PI “African American Community Health Forums,” K-Mart Foundation, $2,500

  • 1999, PI “African American Community Health Forums,” Aguourin Pharmaceuticals, $2,500

  • 1998, PI “African American Community Health Forums,” Detroit Medical Center, $2,000.

  • 1998, PI “African American Community Health Forums,” Michigan AIDS Fund, $5,000.

  • 1997, PI “The Faces of AIDS,” Vice President for Research, Research Stimulation Fund, $4,400.

  • 1997, PI “The Faces of AIDS,” Office of the Provost, Bridge Funds, $,6000

  • 1997-1999, PI “African Americans and HIV: The Caregiving Experience,-supplement” NIMH #R01-MH54391.

  • 1997-1998, PI “Selective Compliance in HIV Positive Women,” Detroit Medical Center.

  • 1995-1996, Co-PI, “Cultural Impact on Caregiving Outcomes--Alzheimer s,” RO1-09791AG, $25,000.

  • 1995, Michiganian of the Year, awarded by the Detroit News

  • 1994-1995, PI “HIV Needs Assessment,” HRSA/DHD, $5,000.

  • 1994, PI “Community Health Ethnography,” Office for Research and Sponsored Programs, $4,000.

  • 1994, Faculty Research Stimulation, Dean Liberal Arts, $3,000.

  • 1994, Wayne State University Mentor Award

  • 1993-94, PI Emergency Relief Grant Program, Ryan White Title Care Act, Title (RFP) City of Detroit Health Department and Southeastern Michigan AIDS Coordinating Council, $43,000.

  • 1992-97, PI “Ethnography of AIDS Prevention in the Recovery Community,” NIDA, $11,800/yr.

  • Wayne State University Distinguished Service Professor, 2021
  • 2020 PI. Sankar, A. ‘COVID-19: Promoting work place mitigation and trust for workplace and community safety. Ford Motor Company, $50,000.  2017, .

  • 2018 Co-PI. Sankar, A. ‘Safety Shield: Qualitative study on driver evaluation of automotive safety technology”, Nissan-Hearst. $40,670.
  • 2017. PI. Sankar, A. “Virtual Passenger Beta Test & Qualitative Study of User Experience”, Chevrolet Motors, $45,406.
  • 2017 Kashian, D. PI, Sankar, A. Senior Personal. “Research in Urban Sustainability and Transformation (T-RUST)”, NSF , $3,000,000
  • Society for Medical Anthropology Mentor Award 2021

  • Li, Hao-chu, Sankar, A. 2017. “Safer Sex Practices Among Newly Diagnosed HIV-positive Men Who Have Sex With Men in China: Results From an Ethnographic Study” . International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being 10.1080/17482631.2017.1335167 Nevedal, A., Neufeld, S., Luborsky, M. Sankar, A. 2017."Older and Younger African Americans' Story Schemas and Experiences of Living With HIV/AIDS," Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology. Nevedal, A. and Sankar, A. 2015 "The significance of sexuality and intimacy in the lives of older African Americans with HIV/AIDS". The Gerontologist. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnu160.
  • Luborsky, M, and Sankar, A. 2019. "Detroit American-American’s Fishing For Food And Heritage: Threats From Factory Toxins." In, Jay Sokolovsky (Ed). The Cultural Context of Aging, 4th edition: Worldwide Perspectives, NY: ABC-CLIO Praeger Publishers. Sankar, A., Luborsky, M. Johnson, R. 2019. The River Rats: Fishing, mutuality, and community. In, L. Campbell, A. Newman, S. Safransky, & T. Stallmann (Eds). Detroit People's Atlas. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI.

Selected publications

  • Dying at Home: A Guide for Family Caregivers. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. Revised 2nd edition, New York: Bantam Press, 1995. Revised 3-rd edition, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, Fall 1999.
  • The Identification and Reporting of Abuse: A Training Manual for Nursing Home Aides.  Michigan Department of Public Health, 1988.
  • Briller, S. & Sankar, A.  2014. “Engaging Opportunities in Urban Revitalization: Practicing Detroit Anthropology”. Annals of Anthropological Practice: Anthropology and Engaged Practice New Vision for the Discipline within Higher Education. NAPA.
  • Luborsky, M, & Sankar, A. 2006. Improving aging and public health research: Qualitative and mixed methods, In, Leslie Curry, Renée Shield, and Terrie Wetle (Editors) " Applying Qualitative and Mixed Methods in Aging and in Health Disparities Research: Theoretical and Practical Considerations. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association. Pp 27-39.
  • Sankar, A. “Spinsters and Domestic Nuns”, Gendering Hong Kong, 2004. Eds. A. Kit-wa Chan & Wong Wai- Ling, London: Oxford University Press; 363-397.
  • Sankar, A. “Images of Home Death and the Elderly Patient; Romantic vs. Real,” (reprinted in) Perspectives: Introduction to Social Work,  C. Lowery (Ed.), Bellevue, LA: CourseWise Pub., 1999.
  • Sankar, A., and Gubrium, J.  "Qualitative Research: A Critical Appraisal,"  In Qualitative Research in Gerontology, edited by J. Gubrium and A. Sankar. 1-11,  Beverly Hills: Sage, 1994.
  • "La Communicazione Tra: Familia ei Sanitari Mell'assistenza Domiciliare ae Morenti,"  In Bioetica e Antropologia Medica, edited by S. Spinsanti, 241-256.  Rome: La Nuova Italia Scientifica, 1991.
  • "Gerontological Research in China: The Role for Anthropological Inquiry," In Anthropology and Aging: Comprehensive Reviews, edited by R. Rubinstein, 173-199.  Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1990.
  • "Patients, Physicians and Context: Medical Care in the Home,"  In Knowledge and Practice in Medicine: Social, Cultural and Historical Approaches, edited by M. Lock, D. Gordon, 155-179.  Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1988.
  • "The Living Dead: Cultural Constructions of the Oldest Old,"  In Modern Pioneers: An Interdisciplinary View of The Aged, edited by P. Silverman, 345-356.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.
  • "Sisters and Brothers, Lovers and Enemies: Marriage Resistance in Rural Kwangtung,"  In Anthropology and Homosexual Behavior, edited by E. Blackwood, 69-83.  New York: Haworth, 1986.  (reprinted from Journal off Homosexuality 11(3/4):69-81, 1985.
  • "It's Just Old Age: Old Age as a Diagnosis in Chinese and Western Medicine,"  In Age and Anthropological Theory, edited by D. Kertzer and J. Keith, 250-281.  Ithaca: Cornell, 1984. 
  • "Spinster Sisterhoods: Jing Yih Sifu: Spinster-Domestic-Nun,"  In Lives: Chinese Working Women, edited by J. Salaff and M. Sheridan, 51-71.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984. 
  • "Conquest of Solitude: Singlehood and Old Age in Traditional Chinese Society," In Dimensions of Anthropology of Aging, edited by C. Fry, 65-85.  New York: Wiley, 1981. 
  • Briller, S, & Sankar, A., (Eds.) Generations “Secular Ritual and Aging”, Fall 2011.
  • Sankar, A. & Abel, E. (Eds.) Research on Aging (Special Issue on Qualitative Research). 17 (1), 1995.
  • Gubrium, J. and Sankar, A.  (Eds.) Qualitative Research in Gerontology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1994.
  • Gubrium, J., and Sankar, A.  (Eds.). The Home Care Experience.  Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1990. 
  • Nevedal, A., Neufeld, S., Luborsky, M. Sankar, A. (in press)."Older and Younger African Americans' Story Schemas and Experiences of Living With HIV/AIDS," Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology.
  • Nevedal, A. and Sankar, A. 2015 "The significance of sexuality and intimacy in the lives of  older African Americans with HIV/AIDS". The Gerontologist Doi:10.1093/geront/gnu160.
  • Beach, MC. Roter, D., Korthuis, P.T., Epstein, R., Sharp, V. Ratanawongsa, N., Cohn,  J., Eggly, S., Sankar, A., Moore, R.D., Saha, S., 2013. “A Multi-Center Study of Physician Mindfulness and Healthcare Quality”. Annals of Family Medicine. 11(5): 421–428. doi: 10.1370/afm.1507 
  • Luborsky, M., Sankar, A. “Reflections from MAQ Editors 2006-2012, and Introduction to a Special Focus Section Medical Anthropology Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 26,No. 4  pp. 449-452
  • Sankar, A., Neufeld, S., Berry, R. Luborsky M. 2011, “African American Rationales for HAART Adherence, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 25(9): 547-555.
  • Sankar, A. Nevedal, A, Berry, R., Neufeld, S., Luborsky, M. 2011.“What do we know about older adults and HIV? a review of social and behavioral literature" AIDS Care 2011;  NIHMS326167 " has been loaded into PubMed Central. 3rd most downloaded AIDS Care article in 2012.
  • Beach MC, Saha S, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Wilson I, Eggly S, Cooper LA, Roter D, Sankar A, Moore RD. Patient-provider communication differs for black compared to white HIV-Infected patients. AIDS and Behavior, 2011. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-009-9664-i. 
  • Kinsman H, Roter D, Berkenblit G, Saha S, Korthuis PT, Wilson I, Eggly S, Sankar A, Sharp V, Cohn J, Moore RD, Beach MC.  "We'll do this together:"The Role of the First Person Plural in Fostering Partnership in Patient-Physician Relationships. 2010. Journal of General Internal Medicine Volume 25, Number 7, 682-687, DOI: 10.1007/s11606-010-1310-4.
  • Sankar, A, Nevedal, D, Neufeld, S, Luborsky, M. 2007. What is a Missed Dose? Implications for Construct Validity and Patient Adherence. AIDS Care. 18(5): 1-7.
  • Rohn, E. J., Sankar, A., Hoelscher, D. C., Luborsky, M., & Parise, M. H. 2006. How Do Social-Psychological Concerns Impede the Delivery of Care to People with HIV? Issues for Dental Education. Journal of Dental Education, 70(10), 1038-1042.
  • Sankar, A., Golin, C., Simoni, J., Luborsky, M., Pearson, C. 2006, “How Qualitative Methods Contribute to Understanding Combination Anti-retroviral Therapy Adherence” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 43 Supplement 1:S54-S68, December 1, 2006.
  • Sankar, A, Wunderlich, T, Neufeld, S., Luborsky, M. 2006.  Sero-positive African American Beliefs About Alcohol and Impact on Antiretroviral Adherence. AIDS & Behavior 10(4): 1-9.
  • Sankar, A. and Luborsky, M. “Developing a Community-based definition of needs for persons living with chronic HIV,” Human Organization 2003; 62(2):153-165. 
  • Sankar, A., Luborsky, M., Schuman, P. Roberts, G. “Adherence Discourse Among HIV+ African American Women Taking High Acting Anti-Retroviral Therapy,” AIDS Care 2002;14(2): 203-218.
  • Bray, T. and Sankar, A.  “Exploring community issues through the university museum; The exhibit Facing HIV/AIDS: Reality and Response,”  Museum Anthropology  24(3): 3-10, 2001.
  • Sankar, A. and Luborsky, M., Songwantha, P., Rawbuhemba, T.. “Comparative social Structural and meaning perspectives of living with HIV in late life,” Research on Aging. 20(6): 885-912, 1998.
  • Brown D., and Sankar A., “HIV/AIDS and aging in minority populations,” Research on Aging.  20(6): 865-885, 1998.
  • Trix, F. and Sankar, A., “Going Beyond the Polls: Women’s Voices in the Hill/Thomas Hearings,” American Anthropologist. 100 (1): 22-30, 1998
  • Abel, E. and Sankar, A., “It s Not  What You Do When You Don’t Have Data or Can’t Do Statistics: Qualitative Research in Aging,” Research on Aging 17(1): 3-8, 1995.
  • Sankar, A. Culture, Research, and Policy," The Gerontologist 33(4):437-439, 1993.
  • Luborsky, M., and Sankar, A.  "Extending the Critical Gerontology Perspective: Cultural Dimensions, Introduction," The Gerontologist 33(4):440-445, Reprinted in Aging for the Twenty-First Century. Jill Quadagno and Debra Street, Editors. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1996.]
  • "Images of Death and the Elderly Patient: Romantic Versus the Real," Generations17(2):59-65, 1993.
  • "Ritual and Dying: A Cultural Analysis of Social Support for Caregivers," The Gerontologist , 31(1):43-51, 1991.
  • "Gerontological Research in China:  The Role of Anthropological Inquiry,"  Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 4(3):199-224, 1989.  [Reprinted in Anthropology and Aging. Comprehensive Reviews as Gerontological Research in China, edited by R. Rubinstein, 173-199.  Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1990.] 
  • Sankar, A., Newcomer, R., and Wood, J.  "Prospective Payment: Systemic Effects on Community Care for the Elderly," Home Health Care Services Quarterly 7(2):93-117, 1986.
  • "Out of the Clinic into the Home: Control and Patient-Physician Communication," Social Science and Medicine 22(9):973-982, 1986.
  • Newcomer, R., Sankar, A., and Wood J.  "Medicare Prospective Payment: Anticipated Effect on Hospitals, Other Community Agencies, and Families,"Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law 10(2):275-283, 1985.
  • Sankar, A., and Becker, S.  "The Home as a Site for Teaching Gerontology and Chronic Illness," Journal of Medical Education 60(4):308-313, 1985.
  • "Sisters and Brothers, Lovers and Enemies: Marriage Resistance in Southern Kwaungtung," Journal of Homosexuality 11(3/4):69-81, 1985. 
  • Cultural Alternatives for the Vulnerable Elderly: The Case of China Past and Present," Studies in Third World Societies 23, 27-57, 1983.
  • Female Domestic Service in Hong Kong,” Michigan Papers in Anthropology 3:87-99, 1978.
  • “Care across the Lifespan and Through History,” The Gerontologist Vol. 41, No. 6 (December), pp. 837-841, 2001. 


Currently teaching

  • Capstone Seminar for Anthropology Majors, 2021
  • Introduction to Anthropological Methods, 2020