Cosminsky, Sheila

Associate Professors cosminsky


Tel: (856) 225-2923

Office: Sociology Building, Camden Campus, 405-7 Cooper Street , Camden, NJ 08102 



B.A., Brooklyn College

M.A., Washington State University

Ph.D., Brandeis University

Research Interests

Women's and child health, nutrition, and medical practices in third world societies.

Biographical Notes

Professor Cosminsky has been a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, Department of Medicine, and has conduced research on maternal and child health in Belize, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Guatemala and Japan with grant support from the Kapnek Charitable Trust and the National Institutes of Health. She is currently writing up her field research about midwives and medicalization on a Guatemalan plantation and is co-PI on a pilot study (with Diane Markowitz) for a larger collaborative project on Health of Migrant Children in Southern New Jersey. Previously, she has published a two- volume bibliography, Traditional Medicine: Implications for Ethnomedicine, Ethnopharmacology, Maternal and Child Health, Mental Health, and Public Health and over two dozen articles on health, nutrition, and medical practices in third world societies, including "Child Feeding Practices in a Rural Area of Zimbabwe" and "Infant Feeding Practices in Rural Kenya." 

Professor Cosminsky will be retiring in July 2013.

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

  • Grant, Center for Children and Childhood Studies, Rutgers University, 2005-2006
  • Grant, Rutgers University Research Council, research on nutrition and food security among South Jersey Hispanic migrant farmworkers, 2003-2004
  • Feasibility Grant, New Jersey Obesity Group, Rutgers University, 2002-2003
  • Fellowship, RAND Institute for Public Policy, Rutgers University for research risk of obesity, diabetes, and acculturation on children of South Jersey Hispanic migrant farmworkers, 2001-2002.

Selected Publications

Cosminksy, S. (1982). Childbirth and Change: A Guatemalan Case Study. In C. MacCormack (Ed.), Ethnography of Fertility and Birth (pp. 205-230). London: Academic Press.

Cosminsky, S. (1983). Ethnicity and Mating Patterns in Punta Gorda, Belize. In M. Crawfod (Ed.), Population Biology and Culture History of the Black Caribs of Central America. New York: Plenum.

Cosminsky, S. (1983). Traditional Midwifery and Contraception. In R. Bannerman et al. (Eds.), Traditional Medicine and Health Care Coverage: A Reader for Health Administration and Practitioners, (pp. 143-162). Geneva: World Health Organization.

Cosminsky, S. Medical Pluralism in Mesoamerica. In C. Kendall, J. Hawkins, & L. Bossen, Eds., Heritage of Conquest: Thirty Years Later (pp. 159-173). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Cosminksy, S. & Harrison, I. (1983). Traditional Medicine: An Annotated Bibliography of Latin America, Caribbean and Africa. New York: Garland Press.

Cosminksy, S. & Harrison, I (1983). Traditional Medicine: An Annotated Bibliography of Latin America, Caribbean and Africa. Vol. 2, 1976 - 1981. New York: Garland Press.

Cosminksy, S. (1985). Infant Feeding Practices in Rural Kenya. In V. Hull & M. Simpson-Herbert, Eds., Breastfeeding, Child Health, and Child Spacing: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, (pp. 35-54). London: Croom-Helm.

Cosminksy, S. (1986). Traditional Birth Practices and Pregnancy Avoidance in the Americas. Report for World Health Organization. In A. Mangay Maglacas and J. Simons, Eds., The Potential of the Traditional Birth Attendant, (pp. 75-89). Geneva: World Health Organization.

Cosminksy, S. (1987). Women and Health Care on a Guatemalan Plantation. Social Science and Medicine, 25,1163-1173.

Cosminksy, S. (1990). Women's Health Care Strategies on a Guatemalan Plantation. In J. Caldwell et al. (Eds.), What We Know About Health Transition: The cultural, social, and behavioural determinants of health. Canberra: Australian National University.

Cosminksy, S. & Scrimshaw, M. (1991). The Impact of Health on Women's Food Procurement Strategies on a Guatemalan Plantation. In A. Sharman et al. (Eds.), Diet and Domestic Life in Society. Temple University Press.

Cosminksy, S., Ewbank, D. & Mhlovi, M. (1993)."Child Feeding Practices in a Rural Area of Zimbabwe." Social Science and Medicine, 36, No. 7, 937-947.

Cosminksy, S. (1994). All Roads Lead to the Pharmacy: Use of Pharmaceuticals on a Guatemalan Plantation. In N. Etkin & M. Tan (Eds.), Medicines: Meanings & Contexts. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.

Cosminksy, S. (1999). Ideology and Reality in Community Health Care in Central America. Reviews in Anthropology, 28,67-88.

Cosminsky, S. (2001). South Mexican and Guatemalan Midwives. In B. Huber & A. Sandstrom (Eds.), Mesoamerican Healers. University of Texas Press.

Cosminsky, S. (2001). Midwives, Menstrual Regulation, and Detencion. In E. van de Waal & E. Renne (Eds.), Regulating Menstruation. University of Chicago Press.  

Cosminsky, S, (2001) Midwifery Across the Generations: A Modernizing Midwife in Guatemala. Medical Anthropology. 20:345-378.

D. Markowitz and S. Cosminsky, (2005) Overweight and Stunting in Migrant Hispanic Children in the USA. Economics and Human Biology 3:215-240, 2005.

Cosminsky, S. (2012)  Birth and Blame: Guatemalan Midwives and Reproductive Risk. In Lauren Fordyce and Aminata Maraesa (Eds.), Risk, Reproduction, and Narratives of Experience. Vanderbilt University Press. Pp.81-101.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Food and Culture
  • Health and Healing
  • Peoples and Cultures of Latin America
  • Peoples and Cultures of Africa
  • Women and Health
  • Medical Anthropology