During the past decades, advances in screening and treatment technologies have inspired optimism about the prevention, treatability, and/or management of many diseases: TB, HIV, and many cancers. Beneath these “success story” of are less encouraging accounts. For example, since the advent of preventive colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, disparities in CRC mortality have widened along lines of race, ethnicity, insurance, income, and formal education. Also beneath these “success stories,” are accounts of hidden costs, of waiting, of substantial effort on the part of persons and their families, and of blame and shame when things do not unfold as expected by the medical establishment. I work to identify locally-specific experiences of diagnostics and treatment to help medical professionals and policymakers better understand issues such as adherence, treatment and diagnostic delay, treatment abandonment, and financial strain and toxicity.

Select funded projects

PS study


Select peer-reviewed publications

Lee, A, James, A, Hunleth, J. Waiting for care: Chronic illness and health system uncertainties in the United States. Social Science & Medicine. 2020; 264: 113296. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113296

Herrick, CJ, Humble, S, Hollar, L, Chang, SH, Hunleth, J, McQueen, A, & James, AS. Cost-related medication non-adherence, cost coping behaviors, and cost conversations among individuals with and without diabetes. J Gen Intern Med. 2020: doi:10.1007/s11606-020-06176-4

Rohatgi, K, Humble, S, McQueen, A, Hunleth, J, Chang, SH, Herrick, CJ, & James, AS. Medication adherence and characteristics of patients who spend less on basic needs to afford medications. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. In Press

Spray, J, Carter, C, Waters, EA, Hunleth, J. Not Breathing Easy: “Disarticulated Homework” in Asthma Management. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. In Press

Hunleth, J, Lee, A, Maki, J, James, A, Lobb, R. Rural Primary Care and the Diagnostic Resolution of Abnormal Screening Mammograms: A Mixed Methods Study in Rural Missouri. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice. 2020

Hunleth JM, Gallo R, Steinmetz EK, James AS. Complicating “the good result”: narratives of colorectal cancer screening when cancer is not found. J Psychosoc Oncol. 2019;1-17. PMID:30714858

Hunleth JM, Steinmetz EK, McQueen A, James AS. Beyond Adherence: Health Care Disparities and the Struggle to Get Screened for Colon Cancer. Qual Health Res. 2016;26(1):17-31. PMCID:PMC4684740 PMID:26160775

Jacob R, Arnold LD, Hunleth J, Greiner KA, James AS. Daily hassles’ role in health seeking behavior among low-income populations. Am J Health Behav. 2014;38(2):297-306. PMCID:PMC4128832 PMID:24629558

Hunleth J. Children’s roles in tuberculosis treatment regimes: constructing childhood and kinship in urban Zambia. Med Anthropol Q. 2013;27(2):292-311. PMCID:PMC3707965 PMID:23804398 (Awarded the 2014 Steven Polgar award from the Society for Medical Anthropology for its originality, theoretical importance, and methodology)

Hunleth J. “ARVs” as sickness and medicine: examining children’s knowledge and experience in the HIV era in urban Zambia. AIDS Care. 2013;25(6):763-6. PMCID:PMC3610860 PMID:23256500

Bond V, Chilikwela L, Simwinga M, Reade Z, Ayles H, Godfrey-Faussett P, Hunleth J. Children’s role in enhanced case finding in Zambia. IJTLD. 2010;14(10):1280-1287.

Awards and Media attention

Photovoice media piece