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Race and Ethnic Relations

Marianne Sarkis  

Marianne Sarkis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of International Development and Social Change,
Department of International Development, Community, and Environment

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

phone: (508) 421-3898


Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, Florida State University, 2010
M.A. in Applied Medical Anthropology, University of South Florida, 2002
B.A. in Anthropology and Philosophy, Indiana University of PA, 1993

Research Interests

Immigrant and refugee social networks and health communication; Social Network Analysis; Community-based participatory research; refugee integration and citizenship; street-based commercial sex work; Geographical areas of specialization: Worcester, Somalia, Kenya, Lebanon.


Dr. Sarkis is an applied medical anthropologist and health researcher who focuses on African-born health experiences in the US. While most of her work has centered on women’s reproductive health and experiences, her recent research has expanded to include structural inequalities, health disparities, and access to medical services for all African-born immigrants and refugees.

Dr. Sarkis teaches courses mostly related to gender and health, community-based health research, Social Network Analysis, and refugee and immigrant health.

Her current participatory community-based health research uses storytelling for health education and trust building. She is the co-chair of Akwaaba Free Clinic in Worcester, and is a president of the board of UHAI for Health, Inc. a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives of the marginalized African population both in Worcester and in Kenya through health education and promotion, research, screening and referral.

Her current active projects are:

  • Storytelling and health-information diffusion in African-born social networks
  • Health disparities and access to care
  • Experiences of pregnancies and childbirth for Ghana-born women in Worcester, MA
  • Gender inequalities in prostitution-related arrests in Worcester, MA
  • Oral histories of women involved in the commercial sex industry in Worcester, MA

 In addition to her research, Sarkis worked as a software engineer and graphics designer in Silicon Valley, and continues to work as a web designer for national non-profits and advocacy organizations.

Selected Publications

2014   Alumni Perceptions of their Progress on Four Learning Outcomes: An Analysis Comparing Four LEEP Learning Outcomes with AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes Using HEDS Data. Worcester, MA: Clark University.

2013    Students' Perceptions of their Progress on Four Learning Outcomes: An Analysis Comparing Four LEEP Learning Outcomes with AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes Using NSSE Data. Worcester, MA: Clark University.

2009     Somali Womanhood: A Re-Visioning. In Empathy and Rage: FGM in Creative Writing. Tobe Levin and Augustine Asaah, eds. Lynn Reiner Press.

2008     Review of Hernlund, Y., and B. Shell-Duncan. 2007. Transcultural bodies: female genital cutting in global context. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. Studies in Family Planning 39(3).

2004     Female Cutting and Anthropology: What took us so long to come around? In Flesh and Blood: Perspectives on the Problem of Circumcision in Contemporary Society. G.C. Denniston, F.M. Hodges, and M.F. Milos, eds. Pp. 119-132. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

1999     Activism on the World Wide Web: The role of the Internet in the dissemination of circumcision-related information. In Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal, and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice. G.C. Denniston, F.M. Hodges, and M.F. Milos, eds. Pp. 351-356. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.