About Bill Dressler
I received my PhD from the University of Connecticut in 1978 and I am currently Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at The University of Alabama. My research examines the relationship between culture and health. The most recent work emphasizes concepts and methods for examining the health effects of individual efforts to achieve culturally-defined goals and aspirations. With colleagues I have examined these factors in settings as diverse as urban Great Britain, the Southeast U.S., the West Indies, Mexico, and, especially, Brazil. With Brazilian colleagues I have carried out four major, funded projects on health in Brazil over the past 30 years. In this research we have shown that difficulties in achieving the culturally-defined goals in Brazilian society are associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and poor immune function.
In addition to teaching in anthropology, I served on the faculties of The University of Alabama School of Medicine-Tuscaloosa and the School of Social Work. I have directed nine doctoral dissertations and served on numerous master’s committees.
Some career milestones:
1979 - Stirling Award in Culture and Personality Studies, American Anthropological Association
1984-1986 - University Research Fellow, The University of Alabama
1988-1994 – Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Exeter, U.K.
1998-2002 – President, Society for Medical Anthropology, American Anthropological Association
2000 - John P. Kirscht Distinguished Lecturer, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
2001 - Distinguished Lecturer, Graduate Student Invitational Lecture, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
2002 - Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, The University of Alabama
2005-2008 - College of Arts & Sciences Leadership Board Faculty Fellow, The University of Alabama
2013 - Grand Marshall, Commencement, The University of Alabama
2019 - The Last Lecture, The Graduate School, The University of Alabama, April 2, 2019.
2019 - Society for Anthropological Sciences Book Award (for Culture and the Individual)
2021 - Conrad M. Arensberg Award, American Anthropological Association (for contributions to anthropology as a natural science)
Office Location: 24-D ten Hoor Hall