Helena Hansen, MD, PhD

Helena HansenHelena Hansen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Hansen holds a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology at the NYU Washington Square Campus and as a Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute Division of Services Research. Dr. Hansen earned an MD and a PhD in cultural anthropology as part of Yale University's NIH funded Medical Scientist Training Program. During graduate school she completed fieldwork in Havana on Cuban AIDS policy, in urban Connecticut on harm reduction and needle exchange, and in Puerto Rico on faith healing in evangelical Christian addiction ministries founded and run by self-identified ex-addicts. Her work has been published in both clinical and social science journals ranging from the Journal of the American Medical Association and Medical Care, to Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, and Medical Anthropology. After graduate school, she completed a clinical residency in psychiatry at NYU Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital, during which she also undertook a political-economic and ethnographic study of a new biomedical treatment for addiction; opiate maintenance therapy with buprenorphine. In this study she examines the social and political implications of clinicians' efforts to establish addiction as a biomedical, rather than moral or social condition, as well as the ways that neurochemical treatments may be reinscribing hierarchies of ethnicity and race. As a Robert Wood Johnson fellow, she began work on a feature length visual documentary on race, class and addiction pharmaceuticals, which is now in post-production. Currently, Dr. Hansen's research interests focus on: mainstreaming addiction treatment into general medicine settings; the corporate marketing of psychopharmaceuticals to ethnic and social groups and how this shapes utilization; and the effects of changes in social welfare and disability benefit eligibility criteria on patients' health outcomes and self-perception.

Email: Helena.Hansen@nyumc.org

Representative Publications

  1. In Press Hansen H: "Pharmaceutical Evangelism and Spiritual Capital: Two Communities of Addicted Selves." In Anthropologies of Addiction: Science, Therapy and Subjectivity, Rakhiel and Hyde, Eds. Duke University Press
  2. Hansen H, Donaldson Z, Bates L, Bearman P, Keely Cheslak-Postava K, Harper K, Holmes S, Link B, Lovasi G, Springer K, and J Teitler: "Integrating biosocial models into revisions of the DSM: Urgent need for population health findings to guide psychiatric research and diagnosis." Health Affairs
  3. 2011 Hansen H: "The 'New Masculinity': Addiction Treatment as a Reconstruction of Gender in Puerto Rican Evangelist Street Ministries." Social Science and Medicine epub ahead of print
  4. 2008 Hansen H: "Bipolar Disorder as Culture Bound Syndrome: A Book Review." American Journal of Psychiatry, Resident's Edition, 165(10):A44-5
  5. 2006 Reisman AB, Hansen H, Rastegar, A. 2006 "The craft of writing: a physician-writer's workshop for resident physicians." Journal of General Internal Medicine 21(10):1109-11.
  6. 2005 Hansen H: "Isla Evangelista-a Story of Church and State: Puerto Rico's
  7. Faith-Based Initiatives." Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 29(4):433-56.
  8. 2004 Hansen H: "Faith-Based Treatment for Addiction in Puerto Rico." JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) 291(23):2882.
  9. 2004 Hansen H, Alegría M, Peña M, et al.: "Drug Treatment, Health and Social Service Utilization by Substance Abusing Women from a Community-Based Sample." Medical Care 42(11):1117-1124.
  10. 2003 Hansen H and N Groce: "Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Quarantine in Cuba." JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) 290(21):2875.
  11. 2003 Alegria M, Page B, Hansen H, Cauce AM, Robles R, Blanco C, Cortes D, Amaro H, Morales A, and P Berry.: "Improving Dug Treatment Services for Hispanics." National Strategic Plan on Hispanic Drug Abuse Research. National Hispanic Science Network and Institute on Urban Health Research, Boston.
  12. 2002 Hansen H, Lopez-Iftikhar M, and Alegria M: "Economy of Risk and Respect: Accounts of HIV Risk Taking among Puerto Rican Sex Workers." Journal of Sex Research 39(4):292-301.
  13. 2001 Hansen H and Groce N: "From Quarantine to Condoms: Shifting Policies and Problems of HIV Control in Cuba." Medical Anthropology 19:259-292.