Kate McGurn Centellas received her Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2008. She is a Croft Institute for International Studies associate professor of anthropology and Latin American studies and associate chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Mississippi. Her work focuses on state-level science, technology, and medical projects, primarily in Bolivia, where she has conducted fieldwork since the early 2000s. She argues that the implementation of scientific research and medical innovation in places like La Paz, Bolivia, is epistemiologically relevant – it is often sites outside of the centers of scientific research where innovation emerges.
Centellas’s current research examines the development and launch of a Bolivian-Chinese satellite and the implementation of an ambitious telehealth project using satellite bandwidth. The goal of this project is to provide telehealth coverage in every municipality, a challenging social and technical problem considering the tremendous geographic and cultural diversity of Bolivia. She collaborates closely with Bolivian institutions, community members, and stakeholders. Centellas additionally works with the School of Population Health at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to strengthen partnerships between Bolivia and Mississippi so practitioners, community members, and scholars can learn from the experiences of telemedicine in each location.
Centellas also co-directs a social science methods field school in La Paz, Bolivia, in the summers. She closely involves students in hands-on research design and implementation via the field school and emphasizes the importance of community partnerships and collaboration via experiential international learning.