Michael James Montoya

Michael James Montoya

Ph.D., Stanford University, 2003
SBSG 3312 | 949-824-1585

Michael J. Montoya holds faculty appointments in the departments of Anthropology & Chicano/Latino Studies, in the School of Social Sciences, The Program in Public Health and the Program in Nursing Science in the College of Health Sciences, and is faculty for The Program in Medical Education for the Latin Community (PRIME-LC), in the School of Medicine at the University of California -Irvine.  Additionally, Montoya serves as the Director of Research for the Community Engagement Unit of the Institute for Clinical Translational Science in the School of Medicine at UC-Irvine.

Montoya received his Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University in 2003.  In 2004, Montoya was a Postdoctoral Fellow-Consulting Researcher at the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, CA.  Prior to completing his doctoral research, Montoya served as the Associate Director and Research Associate, at the Institute on Race and Ethnicity, University of Wisconsin System from 2001 to 2004.  Montoya's work explores the ways humans are simultaneously social and biological beings. His research examines the influence of social conditions on chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and the problems of reductionistic biomedical research that excludes the conditions of living for human groups.

Montoya is interested in exploring the boundaries of biomedical and social sciences in order to find a critically integrated approach to solving health disparities among Chicano/Latino communities. This emerging research agenda has been funded by the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and entails joining with like-minded collaborators from the life and social sciences as well as others with stakes in health outcomes and social equality. By dividing the labor between research into the lived conditions of bodies in certain contexts and research into the pathophysiological and biological impact of those life conditions, Montoya hopes to demonstrate that a unified approach to health research offers better conceptual and predictive possibilities than conventional disciplinary research alone.

Montoya approaches undisciplinary and (neo)applied research imaginaries with the commitment to epistemological and cultural critique. Informed by sociocultural studies of technosciences and by enduring theoretical concerns with human variation writ large, Montoya's research blends the speculative, the applied, the material and semiotic, with the contingent concerns with solving not merely characterizing - disparate distributions of inequality, suffering, and injustice. Consequently, projects that emanate from Montoya's lab are attempts at creating situated active accounts of human problems that are locatable within stratified fields of unequal power relations.

Michael Montoya grew up one of six children in Portland, Oregon. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. His parents came from a central Oregon ranching community with extended family ties in Northern New Mexico. He enjoys cooking, growing flowers, politics, and playing soccer with his three children.

Selected Publications

  • Montoya, M. Making the Mexican Diabetic: Race, Science, and the Genetics of Inequality. University of California Press, 2011.
  • Montoya M., Entry – “Diabetes” Entry in the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, John Moore (ed.) The Gale Group/Macmillan Reference USA, Farmington Hills, MI., April 2008.
  • Montoya M., Entry – “Diabetes” Entry in the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, John Moore (ed.) The Gale Group/Macmillan Reference USA, Farmington Hills, MI., April 2008.
  • Montoya, M., and Benjamin Howard, Dangerous implications of racial genetics research.  Letter in response to Palomar et al 2007.  American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 11: 042, 2008.
  • Montoya M., “Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race and Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Diabetes Research” Cultural Anthropology, February 2007
  • With Paradies, YC, and Fullerton, SM, "Racialized Genetics and the Study of Complex Diseases: The thrifty genotype revisited." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, April 2007.
  • Montoya, M., “Do Genes Explain Diabetes Health Disparities Between Ethnic Groups?” Endocrine Today, June 2007.
  • Montoya, M. and Erin Kent. Dialogical Action:  From community-based to community-driven action research. Qualitative Health Research, Feb 2011.

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