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Philippe Bourgois (PhD Anthropology) is a cultural and medical anthropologist who has conducted fieldwork in Central America (Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Belize) and in the urban United States (East Harlem--New York, San Francisco, North Philadelphia and Los Angeles). In Central America his research addresses the political mobilization of ethnicity, immigration, labor relations and political and intimate violence. In the United States he focuses on the political economy of U.S. inner-city apartheid and the carceral and psychiatric management of poverty and unemployment. He is currently publishing on substance abuse, violence, homelessness, HIV-prevention, mental illness and incarceration.

He has been the Principal Investigator on dozens of National Institutes of Health grants since 1996 including a 21-year continuous study of the inner-city HIV risk environment faced by indigent, street-based drug users and sellers. He is co-authoring a book entitled "Cornered" (under contract with Princeton University Press) based on half a dozen years of collaborative participant-observation fieldwork (with Laurie Hart-UCLA, George Karandinos-Harvard, Fernando Montero-Columbia) in a violently-policed, segregated Puerto Rican neighborhood dominated by open-air narcotics markets in North Philadelphia.

His public health and social medicine research documents how macro-structural power relationships affect health and quality of life. From an applied perspective, he is building a theory of "Individual Vulnerability in the US Inner-City Structural Risk Environment" to render more visible our understanding of how social inequality damages health and to help clinicians, front-line service providers and policymakers develop upstream interventions. He is dedicated to fomenting a more productive dialogue between qualitative, epidemiological and clinical approaches to a critical understanding of the social determinants of health and quality of life.