Dr. Mara Buchbinder is the Principal Investigator of Vermont SAID and a medical anthropologist specializing in the culture of medicine in the United States. Her recent work has explored how patients, families, and healthcare providers navigate social and ethical challenges raised by new developments in medical technology, public health policy, and law. She is especially interested in the role of language in medicine and in the relationships among patients, families, and clinicians in managing illness and healthcare. Dr. Buchbinder is an Associate Professor at UNC’s Department of Social Medicine and core faculty in the Center for Bioethics.


Izzy Brassfield is a research assistant and a student in UNC’s MD-PhD program working on her PhD in philosophy.  She is broadly interested in all areas of clinical ethics, but has recently focused on issues surrounding the patient-parent-physician relationship, moral distress, and ethical issues in genetic testing.



Manisha Mishra is a research assistant and an undergraduate student majoring in Biology and Interdisciplinary Studies: Medical Humanities. She is interested in exploring more about end-of-life communication and the doctor-patient relationship. Her future career aspiration is to pursue a graduate program in public health before continuing onto medical school.




Dragana Lassiter was a research assistant with Vermont SAID from 2016-2017. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill.