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Kathryn Coe, PhD

Professor Emeritus, Social and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Kathryn Coe is a Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department in the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. Her doctoral degree is in cultural anthropology and evolutionary biology and she has published widely on culture and health.

Dr. Coe has over 30 years of experience conducting health research among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians. She has conducted research on the costs of diabetes for Hispanic and American Indians; cervical and breast cancer-related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of Hispanic women living in a large southwestern city; and cardiovascular disease in urban African American women. One study focused on women living in the Bootheel of Missouri, collecting information on body image and obesity; a second study, conducted in the inner city of a large urban area, focused on women’s knowledge of cardiovascular disease risk factors. She also has conducted a study of Andean mothers’ diagnosis, prevention and treatment of parasite infections in children and the effect of deforestation on the health and well-being of a tribe living in the tropical forest. Her research interests are broad, incorporating both chronic disease (breast cancer) and infectious disease (parasite infections, roundworm in particular, in children), and the inter-relationship between culture and health. She also has conducted interventions using lay health workers and conducted research on their effectiveness. The specific aspects of culture that interest her are those that are not often a focus in public health: the arts, religion, kinship systems. Methodologically, she favors triangulation of methods – qualitative and quantitative methods combined and community-based participatory research.

Dr. Coe has been the Principal investigator of a number of NIH-funded grants focusing on such things as patient navigation, attitudes towards clinical trials; tribal community knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to cancer, no shows for repeat Pap tests, readiness for the HVP vaccine, and effectiveness of incorporating culture into health promotion interventions. A recently funded project was as follows:

Arete Institute, University of Chicago, Historical Trauma, Resilience, and the Virtue of Forgiveness This study will examine three widely held assumptions. The assumptions that (1) forgiveness is regarded as a virtue across cultures, (2) both historical trauma and the practice and valuing of forgiveness as a virtue can be transmitted across generations; and (3) forgiveness is a process that often culminates in a ritual that can be either public or private. This study has led to a number of publications.


Her most recent peer review publications include the following partial listing:


Coe, K., Palmer, C., and el Shabazz, K. (2013). The Resolution of Conflict: Traditional African Rituals of Forgiveness. Special Issue on Peace Education, Memory and Reconciliation in Africa: Contemporary Perspectives on Conflict Transformation. African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review, 3(2): 110-128.

Coe, K, Staten, L., Swanson, M. The enigma of the stigma: Hair loss in cancer chemotherapy patients. Open Cancer Journal. DOI: 10.2174/1874079001306010001.

Coe, K., Keller, C., & Walker, J.  (2013). Religion, kinship and health behaviors of African American Women. J. of Religion and Health. DOI 10.1007/s10943-013-9784-0

Kwiatkowski, K., Coe, Kathryn, Bailer, J., Swanson, G. Marie (2013). Inclusion of minorities and women in cancer clinical trials – A decade later—have we improved? Minorities and Women in Cancer Trials. Cancer  May 14, 2013.

Coe, K. and Palmer, C.T. (2013). Human categories and health: The power of the concept of ethnicity. In D Alberts and Lisa M. Hess (editors). Fundamentals of Cancer Prevention (Third Edition). pp. 195-220. New York: Springer

Palmer, C., Begley, R., and Coe, K. (2013). Saintly Sacrifice: The Traditional Transmission of Moral Elevation. Zygon.48(1):107-127.

Braun, K., Nguyen, T., Park. S., Campbell, J., Heiney, S., Brandt, H., Smith, S., Blumenthal, D., Hargreaves, M., Coe, K., Ma, G., Kenerson, G., Patel, K., Tsark, J., and Hébert, J. (2012). Operationalization of community-based participatory research principles across NCI’s Community Networks Programs. American Journal of Public Health, Manuscript no. AJPH-20108345R2

Keller, C., Records, K., Coe, C., Ainsworth, B., Vega Lopez, S., Nagle-Williams, A., and Permana, P. (2012). Promotoras’ roles in integrative validity and treatment fidelity efforts in randomized controlled trials. Family and Community Health.

Kaur, J. S., Coe, K., Rowland, J., Braun, K., Conde, F.A., Burhansstipanov, L., Heiney, S., Kagawa-Singer, M., Lu, Q. & Witte, C. (2012). Enhancing Life After Cancer in Diverse Communities. Cancer

Palmer, C., Begley, R., and Coe, K. (2012). In defense of differentiating pilgrimage from tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 2(1):71-85

Coe, K., Hess, L. and Swanson (2013). Ovarian cancer: A bio-epidemiological approach. In Hoyer, P. (ed). Ovarian Toxicology. 2nd edition. In 317-334. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Coe, K. and Palmer, C. T. (2013). Cross cultural variation in altruism: Traditional parental manipulation and ancestor-descendant conflict, In D. Vakoch, Altruism in a cross-cultural perspective. pp. 31-44. New York, NY: Springer.

Coe, K. and Palmer, C. Mothers, Traditions and the Human Strategy to Leave Descendants. (2013). In Evolution’s Empress: How Females Shape Human Adaptation. M. Fisher, J. Garcia & Chang, R.S. (eds). Chapter 5, pp. 115-132. Oxford University Press. Invited chapter.

Coe, K., VanPool, C., Palmer, C. (2012). Religion, and Tradition in Human Evolution. In P. McNamara & W. Wildman (eds). Chapter 1, 91-116. Praeger Press. Science and the World’s Religions, Vol. 1. Origins and Destinies. 

Coe, K., Barker, G., & Palmer, C. Social Interaction and Technology: Cultural Competency and the Universality of Good Manners. Book chapter in A Companion to Medical Anthropology, Merrill Singer and Pamela I. Erickson, eds. Chapter 13, pp. 443-458. Chichester: West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.

Witte, C., Begay, T., L & Coe, K. (2011) Development of a Spiritual Care Program at an Indian Health Service Hospital Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 4(3): 54-60.

Weigel, M.M., Coe, K., Castro, C., Caiza, M.E., Tello, N., Reyes, M. (2011). Food Aversions and Cravings During Early Pregnancy: Association with Nausea and Vomiting Journal of Ecology of Food and Nutrition [ISSN: 0367-0244]

Kathryn Coe, PhD Kathryn Coe, PhD
  • Kathryn Coe, PhD
  • Kathryn Coe, PhD