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Cathleen Willging

Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

As a medical anthropologist, my research focuses on public mental health and substance use treatment services in the United States, healthcare reform, evidence-based practice implementation and sustainment in complex systems, multi-method organizational ethnography, and the advancement of culturally- and contextually-relevant programs to support marginalized groups affected by persistent disparities. My research bridges the fields of public health, addictions, and social work, and often involves the application of mixed-method research designs. Much of work focuses on system-change initiatives and service delivery issues in rural areas, and includes extensive qualitative and quantitative data collection with professional stakeholders at the system (e.g., state and county officials) and organizational (e.g., administrators and direct service providers) levels. I also have a strong background in studying the illness experiences and help-seeking behaviors of persons with serious mental illness and/or drug use problems, as well as their interactions within informal support networks and their access to and utilization of professional services. In addition, I have developed a growing research portfolio in dissemination and implementation science, and am currently involved in five separate implementation science studies focused on the integration of evidence-based interventions and other service innovations in traditional and non-traditional service delivery settings.


  • –present
    Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico


  • 1999 
    Rutgers University, PhD
  • 1999 
    University of New Mexico , Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1995 
    Rutgers University , MA
  • 1991 
    Purdue University , BA

Grants and Contracts

  • 2016
    Implementing School Nursing Strategies to Reduce LGBTI Adolescent Suicide (RLAS)
    R01 HD083399
    Funding Source:
    National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • 2015
    Improving Native American Elder Access to and Use of Healthcare through Effective Navigation
    R01 MD010292
    Funding Source:
    National Institue on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Professional Memberships

  • American Anthropological Association
  • Society for Medical Anthrpology
  • Society for Implementation Research Collaboration
  • Scholars Strategy Network
  • Society for Applied Anthropology