Lauren Carruth

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Environment, Development & Health

Lauren Carruth is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of Environment, Development & Health at the School of International Service. She is a medical anthropologist specializing in humanitarian assistance, global health, nutrition, displacement, migration, and the Horn of Africa. Her PhD is in sociocultural and medical anthropology, and she has an MS in Nutrition Science and Humanitarian Policy from Tufts University.

Her research focuses on five themes: (1) labor and inequity within the humanitarian industry, (2) irregular labor migrations between Ethiopia and Gulf States, (3) the relationship between food insecurity, medical insecurity, and diabetes, (4) nutritional wasting in emergencies and the development of therapeutic foods, and (5) emerging zoonotic diseases in the Horn of Africa.

Dr. Carruth’s 2021 book, “Love and Liberation: Humanitarian Work in Ethiopia’s Somali Region,” was published in 2021 by Cornell University Press. Her work is funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, and she has been published in journals including The Lancet, BMJ, Social Science & Medicine, Culture Medicine & Psychiatry, Global Public Health, The Journal of Modern African Studies, and Disasters, as well as in Scientific American and the Washington Post.

Prior to arriving at American University, Prof. Carruth was a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton University in the Global Health and Health Policy Program, and at George Washington University in the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Current Projects

  • Book Project: Refugees without refuge: migration as escape when asylum and refugee protection fail, with Lahra Smith (Georgetown University).
  • Research Project: In search of safety and assistance: Experiences of crisis-affected migrants in the DMV, with Ernesto Castaneda and several other students (AU).
  • Research Project: The Ecology of MERS-CoV [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus] in Ethiopia, funded by the Ecology of Emerging Infectious Diseases program with NSF/NIH.