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Byron Joseph Good, PhD, BD

Professor of Medical Anthropology

Byron Good, B.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Medical Anthropology, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Department of Anthropology, Harvard University.  He has been a member of both departments for over 40 years and was Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine 2000-2006. Dr. Good received a B.A. in mathematics from Goshen College and spent an undergraduate year at the University of Nigeria; he received his B.D., focused on comparative religions, from Harvard Divinity School, and his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. He taught in the Department of Psychiatry, University of California Davis for seven years, before returning to Harvard in 1983.  Professor Good is a medical, psychiatric, and psychological anthropologist with a long-standing interest in how diverse cultural forms shape the presentation, experience, and response to serious mental illness in societies as distinctive as Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, the United States, and China. He has long contributed to the theoretical foundations for studying illness, healing, and human subjectivity.  His book, Medicine, Rationality, and Experience: An anthropological perspective  (Cambridge University Press 1994), based on the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures of 1990, has been translated into multiple languages and is among the most widely cited in the field.

Professor Good has been Director, Co-Director, or a primary organizer (with Professors Arthur Kleinman and Mary-Jo Good) of the Harvard NIMH Training Program in Cultural and Mental Health Services that supported 46 postdoctoral and 28 predoctoral fellows (1984-2008), the Carnegie Fellowship Program that brought 20 physicians and social scientists from Kenya and Tanzania (1990-1999), the Freeman Fellowship Program for Southeast and East Asia (23 fellows, 1996-2003), a Fogarty International Center Training Program in International Mental Health that brought 60 mental health specialists (primarily psychiatrists) from Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing (2000-2017), and a USAID research collaboration program (2010-2016) that brought 10 fellows from Indonesia. Professor Good has been active in the Department of Anthropology's Ph.D. program. Together he has mentored over 50 Ph.D. students and 150 postdoctoral fellows.  Graduates of this program now constitute leaders in the fields of medical anthropology and global mental health in the United States and worldwide. He teaches graduate courses in the Department of Anthropology, with a particular focus on subjectivity and anthropological studies of mental illness. He has taught a required course for the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine's M.M.Sc. Program in Global Health Delivery since that program began in 2013 and has mentored masters students in both the M.M.Sc. Program and the M.A. Program in Medical Anthropology.

Professor Good gave the 2000 Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures and Oxford University's 2010 Marett Lecture. He was awarded the Society for Medical Anthropology's Lifetime Mentoring Award in 2000 and the Society for Psychological Anthropology's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He was the President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 2013-2015. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 1986-2004.

Professor Good has conducted nearly 50 years of research, focused primarily on studies of serious mental illness and community-based care in settings as diverse as rural northern California, psychiatry clinics in the University of California, Davis, neighborhood clinics in Boston, communities in Iranian Azerbaijan, in Yogyakarta in Indonesia, post-conflict and post-tsunami settings in Aceh in Indonesia, and in China (in collaboration with fellows in the Fogarty program). His research has been funded by grants from the US Fulbright program, NIMH, NSF, USAID, the International Organization for Migration, the Harvard Center for Global Health Delivery Dubai, and university funds. Dr. Good has worked intensively in Indonesia since 1996; he is Honorary Visiting Professor at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta. Dr. Good's research has included intensive ethnographic research of Javanese culture, particularly as related to mental illness, as well as quantitative and ethnographic research on the early phases of psychotic illness, longitudinal course of rapid onset psychosis, and the effectiveness of mental health services.

In 2005, Professor Good became deeply engaged, along with Professor Mary-Jo Good, in mental health work in post-tsunami, post-conflict Aceh. Their work, supported by IOM, documented levels of violence experienced by rural communities at the hands of the Indonesian military during an intense, decades-long military conflict.  This led to a series of intervention projects, undertaken in collaboration with the Provincial and District Health offices and a local university, aimed at providing mental health services to individuals and communities suffering the effects of years of conflict, including torture of community members, as well as studies of the effectiveness of a model mental health outreach program.  This led, in turn, to the development and evaluation of intervention programs aimed at improving care for persons and families living with psychosis in the province of Yogyakarta, as well as to a deep engagement with the experience of being "haunted" -- haunted by the histories of violence in Indonesia, and haunted by individual experiences of trauma -- all in a society routinely haunted by ghosts and spirits. Professor Good is currently writing a collaborative book about living in the wake of violence in Aceh.

Professor Good's theoretical writings began with a deep engagement with cultural phenomenology in studies of professional and popular medical knowledge, of experiences of learning medicine, and epistemological issues raised by such studies. His work has increasingly focused on psychological and psychoanalytic forms of understanding the human subject and modes of subjectivity. This, joined with his work on violence and haunting, have led to an increasing interest in postcolonial subjectivities, in the power of the hidden and unexpressed, and in developing a broader theory of haunting and an anthropological hauntology.

Professor Good has authored and co-edited 13 books and published 141 articles and book chapters. Books include studies of specific psychiatric categories cross-culturally (Culture and Depression [1985], Culture and Panic Disorder [2010], Culture and PTSD  [2016]), studies of subjectivity (Subjectivity: Ethnographic Investigations [2007], Postcolonial Disorders [2008]), and a 2 volume edited collection on the future of mental health care in Indonesia (in Indonesian, 2019). He is co-editor of a A Reader in Medical Anthropology (2010) and an edited work by anthropologists in conversation with Professor Good's teacher Clifford Geertz (Clifford Geertz by His Colleagues [2005]).

Cultural explanations of psychotic illness and care-seeking of family caregivers in Java, Indonesia.
Authors: Authors: Subandi MA, Praptomojati A, Marchira CR, DelVecchio Good MJ, Good BJ.
Transcult Psychiatry
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Development and Evaluation of a Mental Health Training Program for Community Health Workers in Indonesia.
Authors: Authors: Marastuti A, Subandi MA, Retnowati S, Marchira CR, Yuen CM, Good BJ, Good MD.
Community Ment Health J
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Brief interactive psychoeducation for caregivers of patients with early phase psychosis in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Authors: Authors: Marchira CR, Supriyanto I, Subandi S, Good MJD, Good BJ.
Early Interv Psychiatry
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Shame as a cultural index of illness and recovery from psychotic illness in Java.
Authors: Authors: Subandi MA, Good BJ.
Asian J Psychiatr
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The association between duration of untreated psychosis in first psychotic episode patients and help seeking behaviors in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.
Authors: Authors: Marchira CR, Supriyanto I, Good BJ.
Int J Cult Ment Health
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Medical humanitarianism: research insights in a changing field of practice.
Authors: Authors: Good BJ, DelVecchio Good MJ, Abramowitz S, Kleinman A, Panter-Brick C.
Soc Sci Med
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"What matters most:" a cultural mechanism moderating structural vulnerability and moral experience of mental illness stigma.
Authors: Authors: Yang LH, Chen FP, Sia KJ, Lam J, Lam K, Ngo H, Lee S, Kleinman A, Good B.
Soc Sci Med
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Childhood maltreatment profile in a clinical population in China: a further analysis with existing data of an epidemiologic survey.
Authors: Authors: Zhang TH, Chow A, Wang LL, Yu JH, Dai YF, Lu X, Good MJ, Good BJ, Xiao ZP.
Compr Psychiatry
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Prevalence of personality disorders using two diagnostic systems in psychiatric outpatients in Shanghai, China: a comparison of uni-axial and multi-axial formulation.
Authors: Authors: Zhang T, Wang L, Good MJ, Good BJ, Chow A, Dai Y, Yu J, Zhang H, Xiao Z.
Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol
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Significance of the 686 Program for China and for global mental health.
Authors: Authors: Good BJ, Good MJ.
Shanghai Arch Psychiatry
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