Dr. Milena Melo

Image of Dr. Milena Melo

Assistant Professor



B.S., Biology/Anthropology, University of Texas-Pan American
M.A., Interdisciplinary Studies (Concentration: Anthropology), University of Texas-Pan American
MA., Anthropology, University of Texas at San Antonio
Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Texas at San Antonio

Research Interests: Medical Anthropology, Political and Legal Anthropology, Immigration, Undocumented Migration, Citizenship, Illegality, DACA/Undocumented Youth, Mixed-Status Families, Migrant Health, Healthcare Disparities and Inequalities, Healthcare Policy, Diabetes and Dialysis, Specialty/End-of-Life Care, Mexico, South Texas, U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Milena A. Melo is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology with a specialty in Medical Anthropology. Dr. Melo will begin teaching at MSU in the fall of 2018 and is developing research programs in the borderlands of South Texas and Northern Mexico. Motivated by her own experience as a DACA recipient and undocumented immigrant, Dr. Melo is committed to conducting research that reduces barriers to healthcare, confronts social inequality, and combats the disenfranchisement faced by marginalized populations in the United States. Dr. Melo’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the American Anthropological Association, and the School for Advanced Research.

Dr. Melo’s research focuses on the experiences of undocumented Mexican immigrants accessing healthcare, specifically dialysis for end-stage renal disease caused by diabetes and hypertension. She has also been involved in research focusing on the experiences of mixed-status families and DACA in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. She has conducted research with the undocumented immigrant community of South Texas where she grew up. Her future plans are to conduct binational research comparing the illness experiences of undocumented Mexicans in the United States and underinsured chronically ill Mexicans living in Mexico.

Dr. Melo is currently accepting graduate students interested in medical anthropology, healthcare inequalities, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, citizenship, immigration, and public policy. Regional interest is open, but students with a desire to conduct fieldwork in the U.S. or Mexico are preferred.

Recent Publications:

2018  Brunson, Emily, Mulligan, Jessica, Andaya, Elise, Melo, Milena, and Sered, Susan. Living and Dying in the Medicaid Gap: Experiences of Poor Adults in Non-Expanding States (Accepted by American Anthropologist).

2017     Melo, Milena A. Risky Health Systems: Exclusion and Dialysis. Invited chapter in Unequal Coverage: The Experience of Health Care Reform in the United States, Ed. J. Mulligan and H. Castaneda. New York: New York University Press.

2016   Melo, Milena A. and Fleuriet, K. Jill. Who has the Right to Access Health Care and Why? Immigration, Incorporation, and Health Care Policy. In Mexican Migration to the United States: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Border, Ed. H. Romo and O. Mogollon-Lopez. (pp. 159-183). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

2014  Castañeda, Heide and Melo, Milena. Health Care Access for Latino Mixed-Status Families: Barriers, Strategies, and Implications for Reform. American Behavioral Scientist, 58 (14): 1891-1909.

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