Dr. Victor Braitberg is a Cultural Anthropologist whose interests reside at the intersection of medical anthropology and Science and Technology Studies. He is broadly concerned with the ethnographic and historical study of the ways that science, technology, and medicine are used as political-economic and ideological resources. He has conducted ethnographic and historical research examining how information and communication technologies have been used to reinforce and perpetuate health care inequalities in the United States. His research on telemedicine has traced the linkages between the medical field, telecommunications, defense, and aerospace industries, and government policies to address issues of access to health care for poor and marginalized communities.
For six years (1994 until 2000) he conducted field-work examining the development of telemedicine programs at two private and two public academic medical centers in the Southeastern United States. This research focused on the efforts of medical specialists to promote and develop medical videoconferencing networks with rural primary care clinics and community hospitals. He examined how they negotiated preexisting hierarchical relationships with rural practitioners, patients, and health care institutions with special attention to the ways that they articulated ideals of collaboration and egalitarianism while enhancing their prestige and extending their spheres of influence regionally, nationally, and internationally.
He has conducted archival and oral-historical research examining a collaboration between the Tohono O’odham Nation, NASA, Lockheed, and the Indian Health Service which occurred in the 1970s to create a telemedicine system that would simultaneously improve health care delivery on the reservation while serving as a model for providing health care to astronauts in space. This history sheds light on the ways that telemedicine mediated the interests of aerospace/defense contractors seeking out new markets for their goods, American Indians struggling for political self-determination, and health policy entrepreneurs seeking new models of cost-containment for health care delivery.
Dr. Braitberg's current efforts are dedicated to undergraduate education. As a member of the Honors College Interdisciplinary Faculty he has developed a suite of General Education courses (Cultures of Surveillance, Bodies and Machines, Exploring Electronic Presence, The Politics of Nature) that introduce STEM students to the anthropological study of science, technology, and medicine grounded in ethographic and historical methods.
Dr. Braitberg is especially interested in working with graduate students and advanced undergraduates who are interested in the history and ethnography of medical practice, the anthropology of scientific knowledge and expertise, the anthropology of technology, digital cultures, and surveillance studies.
Dr.Braitberg has designed and supervised graduate independent study courses that have ranged from readings in the anthropology of the "neurosubject" and the history of medical education in the US to the ethnography of globalizing clinical trials and STS approaches to the study of surveillance and society.