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General Membership Meeting Notes 2020

Dear AMHIG Members,

It was great to see so many of our members at our annual general membership meeting! Thank you all who were able to participate in this event, and a big thanks to Beatriz Reyes-Foster for leading the meeting and sharing our group’s many accomplishments this year. For those of you who were unable to make it, I’ve put together a few meeting notes below. Please contact me at, if you have any questions about our meeting proceedings and if you’d like more information about our call for AMHIG leaders for the coming year!

Many thanks,

Erica Hua Fletcher

General Membership Meeting Notes, November 2, 2020 2pm PT/5pm ET

Congratulations to our graduate student paper awardee, Parsa Bastani. 

  • AMHIG replaced our annual Travel Award to the AAAs with a Graduate Student Paper Award ($500), due to COVID-19. This year’s inaugural winner was Parsa Bastani, (Brown University),  for his paper, “Feeling at Home in the Clinic: Therapeutics and Dwelling in an Addiction Rehabilitation Center in Tehran, Iran.” AMHIG will also provide feedback and mentorship to steward the paper from manuscript preparation to its submission at a well-respected journal. 
  • Many thanks to Rebecca Lester, Shir Lerman Ginzburg, and Saira Mehmood for serving on our Student Paper Prize Panel!

Group Accomplishments

  • The AMHIG Policy Position Paper on the State of Mental Health in Anthropology has passed AMHIG membership approval and SMA Board approval and is now up for a ratification vote.
    • Our policy brief team included Emma Backe, Tory Brykalski, Erica Hua Fletcher Alex Fitzpatrick, Melinda González, Shir Lerman, Rob Meeker, Beatriz M. Reyes-Foster, Rachel P. Riendeau, and Meagan Thies-Sauder.
    • This team also published two statements about COVID-19 and to the Movement for Black Lives on our blog. 
    • Our advocacy work this year was mentioned at the annual SMA SIG chair meeting and at the SMA general business meeting. Excellent work, Everyone!
  • You can listen to a podcast recording about our policy statement here, which was submitted to the AAA Raising Our Voices 2020 conference.
    • In the episode, we feature the perspectives of Erica Hua Fletcher, Emma Backe, Rachel Lester, and Sarah Lyon.
    • Please note that our ROV Talk Back event – originally scheduled for Nov. 10th – was canceled due to technical difficulties. 
  • The AMHIG workshop for university administrators and graduate advisors on promoting graduate student mental health at the AAA Raising our Voices 2020 conference is scheduled for Friday, December 11th at 1:30pm PT/4:30pm ET. The registration cost is $40 for professions and $20 for students. Here is the link to register. 
    • Workshop organizers include Eileen Anderson-Fye, Melinda González, Rebecca Lester, Sarah Lyon, and Beatriz M. Reyes-Foster. 
  • Beatriz Reyes-Foster and Erica Hua Fletcher organized 2 panels, which were submitted for the now-canceled 2020 AAA Annual meetings (and will be automatically re-submitted for 2021). 
  • We have an updated website, Google group, listserv, and data storage platform. AMHIG has also seen a dramatic increase of activity on our Facebook group page, with our membership growing from about 500 to over 2000+ members. 

Leadership Update

  • We are recruiting new leadership – including a prospective co-chair for 2020-2021. Below are brief descriptions of each role:
    • Senior Advisor: Promotes the SIG across disciplines and Anthropology departments, serves on ad hoc committees, advises and mentors co-chairs to develop the organization’s sustainability and membership. Estimated monthly time commitment: 1 hour. 
    • Co-Chair: Coordinates events for the AMHIG membership, recruits new AMHIG leaders, serves as a liaison between SIG members and the SMA leadership, and maintains the organization’s history and data. Estimated monthly time commitment: 8-10 hours. 
    • Advocacy Team Lead: Recruits AMHIG members to join ad hoc committees and write policy statements and relevant blogs. Estimated monthly time commitment: 5 hours. 
    • Social Media/Digital Coordinator: Posts SIG’s accomplishments, calls, and events on our blog and on social media- including Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and the AAA forum. Archives relevant correspondence on Google Drive. Estimated monthly time commitment: 2 hours. 
    • Syllabi Project Coordinator: Put out a call for syllabi on mental-health related courses and work with the Digital Coordinator to post the syllabi on AMHIG’s website. Estimated monthly time commitment: 1 hour. 

Directions for the Coming Year

We agreed we would like to take up a Blog Post series on Mental Health and Policing (Thank you, Parsa, for your suggestion!). After attending the SMA business meeting, we believe that one possible venue could be the new MAQ Rapid Responses Black Lives Matter Blog series. The blog series could have several spin-off projects – such as a podcast episode, webinar series, and virtual AMHIG membership conversations.

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