Health and Disease of Populations in Transition


Oct 19-27, 1985

Organized by

George Armelagos and Alan Swedlund


Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Disease in Populations in Transition (Alan Swedlund and George Armelagos, Eds.), Bergin and Garvey, 1990.


  • George Armelagos University of Massachusetts, USA
  • Francis Black Yale University School of Medicine, USA
  • Barry Edmonston Cornell University, USA
  • Anne Grauer University of Massachusetts, USA
  • Jere Haas Cornell University, USA
  • Henry Harpending Pennsylvania State University, USA
  • G. Ainsworth Harrison University of Oxford, UK
  • Lynne Jorde University of Utah, USA
  • Stephen Kunitz University of Rochester, USA
  • Andre Langaney University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Bruce Levin University of Massachusetts, USA
  • Shirley Lindenbaum New School for Social Research, USA
  • K.C. Malhotra Indian Statistical Institute, India
  • Lita Osmundsen Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA
  • Derek F. Roberts University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
  • Francisco M. Salzano Universidade do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Alan Swedlund University of Massachusetts, USA
  • Emoke Szathmary McMaster University, Canada
  • Luis Alberto Vargas National University of Mexico
  • Rick Ward University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Kenneth Weiss Pennsylvania State University, USA


The original impetus for this collection of essays was a meeting with the editors, Bruce Levin (University of Massachusetts), and R. H. Ward (University of Utah). We were discussing the evidence for and against the coevolution of human hosts and their pathogens in the course of history and the conversation turned to the broader issue of health transitions in human populations. It occurred to us that it would be of value to bring together a group of individuals with diverse interests in health and disease, to focus on populations in transition, and to incorporate both historical and contemporary perspectives. The intent was to see if we could collectively identify some common threads connecting populations that differ widely in space, time, and cultural manifestation.

The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research graciously agreed to support a conference on this topic, and it convened in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the fall of 1985. In attendance at the conference were the senior authors of each of the chapters presented here. There was a great deal of discussion about epidemiological transitions during the week we were assembled. There was also considerable interest and concern regarding the effects of contact between human societies on health. While we may have left a lot of threads dangling, what we did accomplish was to begin asking the right questions. If this volume precipitates an increased or renewed interest in the effects of demographic and social change on the health of populations, then we will have achieved our most important purpose.

(excerpt from “Disease in Populations in Transition” preface)

Wenner-Grean Symposium #98