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Roberto Abadie

Research Assistant Professor

About

I am currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Sociology Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am an anthropologist and received my Ph. D. from the Graduate Center (CUNY) with a dissertation on a group of poor research subjects making a living by selling their bodies to test new, experimental drugs, for Big Pharma in Philadelphia. My book exploring this topic “The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects” has been published by Duke University Press. My interest on how individuals understand and deal with health risk, lead me to apply social network theory towards an understanding of how social inequalities shape risk practices among intravenous drug users in rural Puerto Rico, a topic I had started explored in my native country, Uruguay almost two decades ago.  Before coming to UNL, I spent some time at the Bioethics Program at the Mayo Clinic and the Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill University. I had my fifteen minutes of media attention from venues such as Time Magazine and the BBC.

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CVROBERTOABADIE2017

Education

Mayo Clinic

Post-Doctoral

2006 – 2008
Post-Doctoral Fellow Bioethics Research Program. Mayo Clinic. Rochester. Minnesota.
City University of New York

Ph.D. Anthropology Department

2006
Ph.D. Anthropology Department, Graduate Center, City University of New York. Ph.D. Dissertation: “A Guinea Pig’s Wage: Risk and Commoditization in Pharmaceutical Research in America.
Université Laval Quebec City

MA. Anthropology department.

2000
MA. Anthropology department, Université Laval Quebec City. (Canada).
Universidad de la República

BA. Sociology.

1992
BA.   Sociology, Universidad de la República. (UDELAR) Uruguay.

Experience

CURRENT POSITION

02/2017-Present

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

10/2014 – 1/2017

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

SNRG

02/2013-10/2014

Senior Researcher at SNRG (Social Network Research Group) and Project Director for National HIV Behavioral Surveillance HET 3 (CDC). John Jay College of Criminal Justice. (CUNY)

McGill University

09/2011-09/2012

Research Associate, Biomedical Ethics Unit. Faculty of Medicine. McGill University, Montreal.

CUNY

09/2009-08/2011

Visiting Scholar at the Doctoral Program in Public Health. Graduate Center. CUNY. New York.

Mayo Clinic

10/2006-02/2008

Project Director. Native American Views on DNA Bio banking. Mayo Clinic. Rochester, MN.

The Professional Guinea Pig

“Roberto Abadie has given us a deep, complex, and profoundly disturbing investigation into the dark underside of the clinical trials industry. The Professional Guinea Pig is not just ethnography. It is a call to Action.” –Carl Elliott, author of Better Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream.

CLINICAL TRIALS: PROFESSIONAL GUINEA PIGS. TIME MAGAZINE VIDEO.

INTRODUCTION THE PROFESSIONAL GUINEA PIG

DOWNLOAD INTRODUCTION

BOOK REVIEWS

Waldman, M. (2010). The invisible frontline. Nature, 467 (7317), 786. 

“Roberto Abadie, provides a disturbing account of volunteers’ experiences in The Professional Guinea Pig.” -Download- 

 

Barnbaum, D. (2011). Except for all the others. Nature Medicine, 17 (5), 535.  

“The Professional Guinea Pig gives voice to volunteers skeptical of the current ethical protections in phase 1 trials, even as they endure the risks of those trials.” Download-

Lichterman, B. (2011). Paid to participate in “mild torture.” British Medical Journal, 342 (7805), 1030.

“Abadie argues that the professional guinea pig (paid for endurance of pain, discomfort, and the boredom related to a clinical trial) is a new occupational category in deindustrialised Philadelphia.”  -Download

Pollock, A. (2011). American Anthropologist, 113 (2), 356-357.  

“The Professional Guinea Pig tells a fascinating story at the entrepreneurial and pharmaceuticalized heart of neoliberal medicine.” -Download-

Goldstein, D. (2012). American Ethnologist, 39 (4), 835-836. 

“Roberto Abdie’s illuminating ethnography transports its readers to the city of Philadelphia and into the complex world of human experimentation that, despite its proximity, is invisible to most of us.” -Download-

Poplavska, E. (2011). Social Forces, 90 (1), 341-343. 

“The Professional Guinea Pig offers critical tools to reflect on and understand the relationship between the commodification of human subjects in clinical trials and how participant risk is construed and managed by the subjects themselves.” -Download-

Barrett, R. (2011). Sociology of Health & Illness, 33 (5), 815-816.

“The author draws attention to the exploitation of drug trial participants and ethical concerns about their treatment.” -Download-

Nixon, A. (2013). Health, Risk & Society, 15 (8), 717-718.

“Abadie’s study is a traditional ethnography, carried out in circumstances where the researcher is aware that his work might upset powerful people.” -Download-

Montag, D. (2014). Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 28 (1), b24-b26. 

“It is the first ethnographic description of its kind, focusing on “sociocultural processes that transform bodies into valuable commodities as research subjects” -Download-

Media Appearances

Injection risk networks in rural Puerto Rico

Injection Risk Networks in Rural Puerto Rico

This project documents how social networks shape HIV and Hepatitis C risk among injection drug users in rural Puerto Rico and ultimately, aims to use this research to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C in Puerto Rico by identifying effective prevention strategies. Between March 2015 and April 2017, we interviewed more than 460 people who inject drugs and ask them about their risk behaviors, injection risk partners, and about their lives in rural Puerto Rico. Each participant also completed a rapid HIV and Hepatitis C test. The analytical portion of the project involves simulating risk social networks on a regional scale, and testing the simulation effects of a range of interventions.

Interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Puerto Rico’s solution to heroin crisis: one-way tickets to Philly.”

Teaching

I approach teaching in much the way I approach scholarship: as an opportunity to encourage students to engage actively with academic concepts and theory and to use them to reflect and then potentially transform the world they live in. I have developed a pedagogical approach that invites students to grasp with the social and structural production of inequalities and its effects on their own personal trajectories, their families and their communities. A critical approach to health and illness represents a privileged opportunity to denaturalize the social world, for example, by showing how the way we are born, live and die are shaped not only by cultural norms but also by health disparities.

In the classroom, I attempt to create nurturing, collaborative learning environments capable of inspiring critical thinking and action. I support students’ engagement by linking discussions of academic concepts to current events, from a global health epidemics like HIV or obesity, to the intravenous drug use that ravages rural communities in the US. This process elicits students’ positionality, illuminating how race, ethnicity, gender and class contribute to certain health outcomes.  While understanding how a society works is not, in itself, a transformative act, I hope that it might stimulate students to change the world around them.

Publications

It Ruined My Life

Abadie, R.

2017
“It Ruined My Life”: The effects of the War on Drugs on people who inject drugs (PWID) in rural Puerto Rico. Abadie, R., Gelpi-Acosta, C., Davila, C., Rivera, A., Welch-Lazoritz, M., Dombrowski, K. International Journal of Drug Policy.
To Enroll or not to Enroll?

Abadie R.

2017
“To Enroll or not to Enroll? A Researcher Struggles with the Decision to Involve Study Participants in a Clinical Trial that could Save their Lives”, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics.
Social Determinants of HIV/HCV Co-Infection

Abadie R.

2017
“Social Determinants of HIV/HCV Co-Infection: A Case Study from PWID in Rural Puerto Rico”. Abadie R., Welch-Lazoritz M, Khan B, Dombrowski, K. Addictive Behaviors Reports.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2017.01.004

Hepatitis C serosorting among people who inject drugs in rural Puerto Rico

Abadie, R.

2017
Duncan, I., Curtis, R., Reyes, J. C., Abadie, R., Khan, B., & Dombrowski, K. (2017). Hepatitis C serosorting among people who inject drugs in rural Puerto Rico. Preventive Medicine Reports6, 38–43. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.02.001
Rural and urban injection drug use in Puerto Rico: Network implications for human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus infection

Abadie, R.

2017
Thrash, C., Welch-Lazoritz, M., Gauthier, G., Khan, B., Abadie, R., Dombrowski, K., Rolon Colon, Y. Rural and urban injection drug use in Puerto Rico: Network implications for human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus infection. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 1-24.
Prevalence and Risk Factors of HCV Infection among PWID in Rural Puerto Rico

Abadie R.

2016
“Prevalence and Risk Factors of HCV Infection among PWID in Rural Puerto Rico. Abadie R, Welch-Lazoritz M, Gelpi-Acosta C, Reyes J.C, Dombrowski K. Harm Reduction Journal, 13:10 doi:1186/s12954-016-0099-9
We can wipe and entire culture

Abadie, R.

2015
“We can wipe and entire culture”: fears and promises of DNA biobanking among Native Americans. Abadie, R, K Heaney. Dialect Anthropol 2015; 39:305-320.
HIV/AIDS in Puerto Rican People Who Inject Drugs: Policy Considerations

Abadie R.

2015
“HIV/AIDS in Puerto Rican People Who Inject Drugs: Policy Considerations” Lopez L, de Saxe Zerden L, Bourgois P, Hansen H, Abadie R., Dombrowski K, Curtis R. Am J Public Health doi: 10.2015/AJPH.2014.302387
Consent for Nondiagnostic Research Biopsies: A Pilot Study of Participant Recall and Therapeutic Orientation.

Abadie R.

2014
“Consent for Nondiagnostic Research Biopsies: A Pilot Study of Participant Recall and Therapeutic Orientation.” Abadie R., J Kimmelman, Lafleur J, Lemmens T. IRB Ethics & Human Research. 2014; 36(3): 9-15
GuineaPigging in Philadelphia

Abadie R.

2011
“GuineaPigging in Philadelphia” Anthropology Now. 3(3):29-5
A Guinea Pig’s Wage: Risk and Commoditization in Clinical Trials Drug Research in America

Abadie R.

2009
“A Guinea Pig’s Wage: Risk and Commoditization in Clinical Trials Drug Research in America” In. Merrill Singer; Hans Baer, (Eds.) Killer Commodities: A Critical Anthropological Examination of Corporate Products and Public Health. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Clinician’s Use of the Statin Choice Decision Aid in Patients with Diabetes: a Videographic Study Nested in a Randomized Trial.

Abadie R.

2009
“Clinician’s Use of the Statin Choice Decision Aid in Patients with Diabetes: a Videographic Study Nested in a Randomized Trial.” Abadie R., Weymiller AJ, Tilburt J, Shah ND, Charles C, Gafni A, Montori VM. J. Eval Clin Pract. 15(3):492-7. Epub 2009 Apr. 2.
Exploiting a Research Underclass in Phase 1 Clinical Trials.

Abadie R.

2008
“Exploiting a Research Underclass in Phase 1 Clinical Trials.” Elliott C, Abadie R. New England Journal of Medicine, Perspective, 358(22):2316-7.
The Ethics Debate on Compensating Drug Trial Volunteers.

Abadie R.

2008

 

“The Ethics Debate on Compensating Drug Trial Volunteers.” Anthropology News, 2:24.

Grants and Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2003-4 CUNY Writing Fellowship. Writing Across the Curriculum Program at Queens College. City University of New York. $48,000

 

  • 2002 Summer Reconnaissance Trip Funds for Pre-dissertation   Research in Philadelphia. Anthropology Dept. Graduate Center City University of New York. $1,600

 

  • 2000-2 Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Wadsworth International Fellowship. New York. $37,500

Contact

Roberto Abadie
214 Benton Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0623
Phone
718-450-0501
Email
rabadie2@unl.edu

Roberto Abadie

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