Student Profile: Yewande O. Addie

Here is the latest installment of ADTSG’s student profiles feature!

These profiles are a way for the ADTSG membership to become acquainted with the next generation of anthropologists of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.  In this vein, each profile will introduce one graduate or undergraduate student to the group by asking them a series of questions related to their background and career aspirations in this field.

In this installment, we are profiling Yewande O. Addie, a recent graduate of the Ph.D. program at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and a current health communications fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Population Health.

Why did you choose to use anthropological theory and methods in your research?

Because of the type of research I’m interested in, I actually took an interdisciplinary approach to my methods and theory. My dissertation study is anchored by framing theory and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. Although framing theory is a foundational sociological theory, it is pretty commonly used in communication research to explore how subject matters are discussed in media. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions is a cross-cultural communications framework designed to help people understand and examine national values, cultures and behaviors. 

Regarding my methods, I made the choice to center Nigerian media as the primary source for my dissertation research, and I had the luxury of being able to conduct my analysis in Nigeria with the support of a U.S. Fulbright grant. I feel fortunate that I was able to more closely experience the culture and people of Nigeria in an ethnographic capacity. Spending eight months researching, teaching, and writing in Nigeria really enriched my findings and expanded my scholarly perspective. To anyone seriously considering an international education experience, I’d highly recommend it. 

Why are you interested in alcohol, drugs, and tobacco research?

Well they say research is actually “me-search.” A lot of times our research is an extension of our life experiences and observations. My father was a smoker and passed away from small cell lung cancer. My grandfather was a smoker and a drinker that died from a related pulmonary disease. One of my elder brothers had an accidental opioid overdose. Two of my favorite artists, Prince and Michael K. Williams, both died after consuming opioids laced with an even stronger synthetic opioid, fentanyl.  In hindsight, I don’t think I was super intentional about explicitly wanting to do substance use research. But in some ways I can’t help but think of my work as a tribute to the loved ones I’ve lost, who struggled with addictions to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. 

What are your future plans for studying alcohol, drugs, and tobacco?

I’d like to continue doing related interdisciplinary research that draws connections between culture, health, and substance use among other health inequities. I also want the research I do to inform policies that help reduce and prevent substance misuse/abuse. 

Where do you hope to take your career following your dissertation defense?

Prior to finishing my doctoral program, I studied and earned degrees in journalism, history, and public health, so I consider myself a very interdisciplinary communication scholar. In the field of journalism, journalists use storytelling as a way of reporting information to the public. History is all about telling stories as a way of remembering the past. And storytelling is an essential function for public health practitioners that collect and develop health narratives. My hope is that I can continue building a career that affords me the opportunity to strategically use storytelling and narratives in my research and as a modality for healing and social change.

If you are an anthropology student and would like to be profiled for the ADTSG website, please contact ADTSG’s Chair, Breanne Casper, at casperb@usf.edu for more information! 

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