Ana-Monica Racila

GSS Representative, AnthGrad, 2016-2017

Ana-Monica is a PhD student in medical anthropology, working under the guidance of Dr. Emily Wentzell. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology in 2013 at the University of Iowa.

As part of her dissertation research, Ana-Monica examines how transgender patients and their healthcare providers rework a medical system designed for cisgender people. To do this, she applies an ethnographic approach paired with document analysis to investigate how providers trained in U.S. trans healthcare and trans patients engage with and navigate bureaucratic health technologies—specifically, bureaucratic labels referencing dominant ideas about gender in widespread technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs). Informed by broader trans activist movements, trans-sensitive healthcare providers and trans patients can interpret these gender-normative labels differently than insurers and healthcare staff with less exposure to the nascent field of trans healthcare.

Through her fieldwork, Ana-Monica hopes to understand what such interpretations reflect about the fluidity of these labels’ meanings, as well as the construction of gender and sex in U.S. biomedicine more broadly. The overarching goal of this research is to improve healthcare delivery to this community.