Arachu Castro has been named the Samuel Z. Stone Endowed Chair of Public Health in Latin America at Tulane University. This tenured position was newly created in the Department of Global Health Systems and Development at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. See Tulane's announcement.
Dr. Castro joined the Department in 2000 as a research fellow in the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change, where she worked with Jim Yong Kim on the global investment plan for tuberculosis control and the Gates Foundation-funded project to control multi-drug resistant TB. Before the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria existed, Dr. Castro helped Drs. Kim and Paul Farmer to investigate and develop funding mechanisms for antiretroviral therapies. Dr. Castro also joined the teaching faculty for "Social Roots of Health and Disease" and "Culture, Poverty and Infectious Disease." She was appointed instructor in 2001, assistant professor in 2004, and associate professor in 2011.
Dr. Castro’s many scholarly contributions have had important influence on health policy related to maternal health and to HIV interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is co-editor of the volume, Unhealthy Health Policy: A Critical Anthropological Examination (Altamira Press 2004, with Merrill Singer), widely used in teaching, and also founded The Latin America and Caribbean Initiative for the Integration of Prenatal Care with the Testing and Treatment of HIV and Syphilis (ILAP) in 2007 in collaboration with UNICEF, UNAIDS, the Pan American Health Organization, and several Latin American national AIDS programs. Among other benefits, ILAP has resulted in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis in several countries.
Dr. Castro has trained and fostered many in the next generation of leaders in social medicine, medical anthropology, and global health. In addition to co-directing and teaching in the former social medicine elective courses for six years, she has led several seminars at HMS and lectured at FAS and HSPH. She assumed leadership of the medical anthropology clerkship in 2007, succeeding Arthur Kleinman, Mary-Jo Good, and Liz Miller in that role. For several years she has been a key departmental advisor for medical students’ international research projects. Dr. Castro has formally mentored more than 80 students and junior colleagues over the past 13 years.
Dr. Castro also participated in strengthening relationships between Harvard’s Longwood and Cambridge campuses. She served for many years on committees at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and co-directed the Cuban Studies Program there. In addition to bridging relationships across Harvard, Dr. Castro was part of the Department’s broader partnership. She played leadership roles at Partners In Health—particularly in Mexico and Guatemala—and as a medical anthropologist with the Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Dr. Castro has been honored with invitations to serve in advisory roles and as consultant in various global bodies concerned with women’s health and with infectious disease. Additionally, she has received awards to fund her work on ILAP and been honored with the Virchow Award for her work in critical medical anthropology. The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine was proudest of her having been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, which she won in 2010 to write on women and AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Dr. Castro’s position at Tulane takes effect in January. Tulane will benefit from her expertise in medical anthropology and public health, her knowledge of infectious disease and women’s health-related concerns in Latin America, and her passion for translating research into beneficial health policies and practices.