Atwood D. Gaines Ph.D., M.P.H.

Professor of Bioethics
Professor of Anthropology
Professor of Psychiatry
Professor of Nursing

Culture, Health and Ethics
Professional Medicine

Office Phone: 216-368-2257


Dr. Atwood D. Gaines is Professor of Anthropology, Bioethics, Nursing and Psychiatry, and Program Faculty in Ethnic Studies and Women and Gender Studies at CWRU and its Schools of Medicine and Nursing. His MA, C.Phil. and PhD, all in Cultural Anthropology, were earned at UC Berkeley. His MPH was taken from UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. He holds a Certificate in Ethics from Case's Law School.

Dr. Gaines is now Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. He is a medical anthropologist with public health training. His books include, Ethnopsychiatry (1992) and two volumes edited with Robert Hahn called Physicians of Western Medicine (1982, 1985) that initiated cultural studies of Biomedicine. He has published nearly 70 articles in journals and books in the fields of medical anthropology, ethnopsychiatry, dementia (especially Alzheimer Disease), aging, bioethics, anthropology of religion, social identity, cultural studies of science, American Studies and European anthropology. He has developed Cultural Constructivism, a general theoretical framework in Medical Anthropology as well as the formulations of the New Ethnopsychiatry, Local Biology, Local Ability, and the fields of the The Anthropology of Biomedicine and The Ethnology of Biomedicine and Cultural Bioethics. A central focus on social identity and classification has led to many publications concerning cultural constructions of "race" in medicine attendent ethical problems of such concepts for medicine and psychiatry in the Encyclopedia of Bioethics (1995 and 2004 editions).

His work on dementia, often with Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD, has contributed to the deconstruction of Alzheimer's as a disease. Other key contributions include the cultural interpretation of US psychiatric classification (1991) and the cultural construction and variation of depression (with Paul Farmer, 1986). Dr. Gaines is a contributing author of the Cultural Formulation Appendix of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IVth Edition (DSM IV) (2000). He coauthored an important article on the ethics of genetic testing in Alzheimer Disease (with Stephen Post, et al.,) that appeared in JAMA and wrote the first study of AD in a minority culture. He has published in the American Anthropologist, Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, Anthropological Quarterly, Research on Aging, Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology. Lancet Neurology and other journals and several encyclopedias (of Anthropology, Bioethics, Medical Anthropology, World Cultures, and Time). His research efforts in England, France, the US (SF Bay Area, Honolulu, Durham, Cleveland) and on international science have been funded by NIH, NIMH, NIA, the Social Science Research Council, the MacArthur Foundation and the International Working Group for the Harmonization of Dementia Guidelines.

Dr. Gaines is currently part of the Department of Bioethics' Center of Excellence for ELSI Research (ethical legal and social issues) of the Human Genome Project, headed by Dr. Eric Juengst. He is a member of the Center's Population Issues Group, where he is collaboratively developing research and public commentary related to ethics and social identity, especially cultural notions of "race" in Biomedicine and genetics and the impact on psychiatric practice of biogenetic definitions of mental disorders.

this section »