New book released by Anthropology Assistant Professor Isaac Voss

Health, Healing, and ShalomIsaac Voss, our new anthropology professor, has just released an edited volume, Health, Healing, and Shalom: Frontiers and Challenges for Christian Healthcare Missions.  The volume is co-edited by Bryant Myers, professor of International Development at Fuller Theological Seminary, Erin Dufault-Hunter, associate professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Isaac Voss, assistant professor of anthropology at Vanguard University.

In this volume, authors with an interest in health “missions” from a wide variety of experiences and disciplines examine health and healing through the theological lens of shalom.  For every age, Christians need to examine how they can best announce the gospel message of God’s healing in word and deed in their own context.  In our era, we are often simultaneously grateful for modern medicine and frustrated by its inability to care for the whole person in effective, affordable ways.  Shalom, often translated “peace” or “wholeness,” names a much more complex understanding of human well-being as right relationships with one another, with God, and with creation.  Reading about various aspects of healthcare missions through this lens not only yields much-needed correctives to current practice but also exposes the Spirit’s invitation to participate in God’s ongoing work of tending, caring, and healing our broken world.

Isaac served as the facilitating editor for the project and co-authored two chapters in the book. One chapter was authored with a nurse, Anntippia Short, and is titled “Overcoming Barriers in the City: Transforming Cross-Cultural Practices for Health Workers.”  The chapter draws from the authors’ experiences of starting a medical clinic in Watts, CA, and presents five practices that equip and empower cross-cultural workers.  The second chapter, “Looking Forward in the Healthcare Missions Movement,” was written along with theologian Erin Dufault-Hunter and physician Rick Donlon. This chapter focuses on the future of the healthcare missions movement.

As this book emerged from an interdisciplinary conversation, Isaac looks forward to seeing how it will be used to equip students, health workers, theologians, and others as they follow Jesus’ example and help others to truly flourish.

The book is available for purchase on the publisher’s website ( or at





Students Honored at Awards Chapel

Anth Soc

L to R: Dr. Vince Gil, Elysia Foraker, Savannah Cornelison, Joshua Hummel, Dr. Ed Clarke


Mayra Ramos

The department’s top students were honored at the University Awards Chapel on April 23, 2015.  They are pictured here along with Dr. Vince Gil and Dr. Ed Clarke.

Elysia Foraker received the award for the Outstanding Student in Anthropology given in recognition of exceptional knowledge and problem solving as well as academic excellent and a commitment to service.

Two students, Elysia Foraker and Savannah Cornelison, shared the Lambda Alpha Award for Anthropology, the national honor society for anthropology.  This award honors superior academic achievement in the discipline.

Joshua Hummel and Mayra Ramos were awarded the Outstanding Student in Sociology in recognition of student scholarship and social activity.

Congratulations to these students!

Spring Colloquium

Joshua Hummel 1Double major Joshua Hummel represented the Anthropology & Sociology Department at the 26th Annual Spring Colloquium on April 22, 2015.  He presented his original research “When ‘The Claws Came Out’:  Analyzing Put-Down Language Within a Christian Community.”

Students Present at Santa Clara University

Santa Clara 2015Eight anthropology and sociology majors along with faculty advisors Dr. Vince Gil and Dr. Hien Park participated in the 42nd Annual Western Departments of Anthropology & Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference at Santa Clara University on April 18, 2015.  Kathryn Arnold, Araceli Bravo, Savannah Cornelison, Hayley Flowers, Alissa Kasper, Arielle Linson, Shannon Little and Mayra Ramos presented their original research to students and faculty from other colleges and universities.

Dr. Vince Gil Collaborates with the University of California, Irvine, on their Medical Humanities Initiative

Dr. Vince Gil has been invited to be a collaborator in a novel program initiative at the University of California, Irvine. The Provost’s Office at UCI has begun a “Medical Humanities Initiative” along with significant funding to bring together the arts, humanities, and schools of medicine to further research, develop curriculum, and projects that will enable culturally sensitive and appropriate healthcare.

Dr. Gil is the only off-campus member among a select group of UCI faculty/department chairs that have either volunteered or been recruited to serve on the Medical Humanities Research Workgroup, charged with generating novel research possibilities, curricular, and other venues that further the Medical Humanities. Dr. Gil recently created an instrument to poll UCI faculty and students regarding their involvements with Medical Humanities projects — a first step among many more to come to ascertain, encourage, and then develop Medical Humanities as a bona fide field at UCI. Dr. Gil states,

“We are also working on developing a workshop for funding opportunities involving Medical Humanities projects, suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Our Workgroup will be assessing worthy undergraduate projects for funding through the University’s summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. As well, the Medical Humanities Initiative is providing seed money for research grants for faculty to engage in cross-disciplinary research.”

As such, Medical Humanities at UCI will become an interdisciplinary field with application to medical education and practice. The humanities and arts provide insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood, beliefs, and offer a cultural-historical perspective on medical practice. Attention to literature and the arts helps develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection — essential skills for humane medical care. Medical Humanities provide the interdisciplinary approach necessary to investigating and understanding the profound effects of illness and disease on patients, health professionals, and the social worlds in which these live and work.

Dr. Gil is excited to be a part of a growing interdisciplinary field, as well as collaborating with colleagues “across the aisle” at UCI. Moreover, the involvement is providing models for interdisciplinary venues which can eventually benefit Vanguard’s own programs. “We can find instructional models and opportunities for mutual engagement here as well.” Dr. Gil counts it a privilege to be the only Medical Anthropologist on board on this venue.

Honor Society Induction Ceremony

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe Anthropology & Sociology Department inducted students into their respective honor societies on November 13, 2014.

Inducted into the Lambda of California Chapter of Lambda Alpha, the National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology, were Savannah Cornelison, Hayley Flowers, Elysia Foraker, Arielle Lamech, Joshua Hummel and Alissa Kasper.

Inducted into the Alpha Zeta of California Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociological honor society, were Araceli Bravo, Liana Crismali, Jessica Ewert, Trinity Flores, Betsi Hernandez-Aguilar, Shannon Little, Brittany Miller, Natalie Ness, Kaitlin Niehenke, Ally Pelletier, Mayra Ramos and Alexandra Salazar.

Congratulations to these students on their superior achievement.



California Sociological Association Conference

IMG_1196Sociology majors Joshua Hummel, Xanic Fernandez, Shannon Little, Araceli Bravo, and Mayra Ramos along with faculty advisors Dr. Ed Clarke and Dr. Hien Park attended the 2014 California Sociological Association Conference on November 15. Josh Hummel presented his research Analyzing Put-Down Language within a Christian Community.

Top Students Receive Awards

Spring 2014 030The Anthropology & Sociology Department was proud to honor their top students at Awards Chapel on April 24, 2014.Spring 2014 023

Jordan Gripenwaldt (left) was given the Outstanding Student in Anthropology award in recognition of exceptional knowledge and problem solving as well as academic excellence and a commitment to service.

The Outstanding Student in Sociology award was presented to Sawyer Pendleton (right) in recognition of student scholarship and social activity.



Students Present at Spring Colloquium

Caitlin Branderhorst 5The 25th Annual Social Sciences Spring Colloquium featuring the presentations of exemplary student research papers was held on April 22, 2014.  Two students from the Anthropology & Sociology Department were selected to represent the department.  Diana Hudson 6

Caitlin Branderhorst (left) presented her paper “Lifestyle Migrants in Latin America: Motivations, Global Mobility, and Self-Conception within Place.”

Diana Hudson (right) presented her research on “Aspirational Differences Between Intergenerational Adult and Adolescents in Hispanic Immigrant Households.”



Students Present at Research Conference

santa clara all 2Six anthropology and sociology majors traveled to Santa Clara University on April 12, 2014 to participate in the 41st Annual Western Departments of Sociology & Anthropology Undergraduate Research Conference.  Joshua Hummel, Elysia Foraker, Diana Hudson, Caitlin Branderhorst, Holly Wagner and Justin Esselstrom were selected to present their original research to students and faculty from other colleges and universities.  Dr. James Huff was their faculty advisor.