Amy Porter, ANT '05 A.B.


Dr. Porter was an Anthropology major at Princeton and studied postpartum illness among ethnic Fijian women in Fiji. She then moved to South Africa for a Princeton-in-Africa Fellowship, during which she worked for mothers2mothers, an organization that strengthens government-run PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) programs using peer-based education and psychosocial support. She went on to pursue an M.D.-Ph.D. in Anthropology at Harvard University, during which she returned to South Africa to carry out her doctoral work, an ethnographic study of the experiences of labor migrants living with HIV and TB as they tried to seek healthcare in the setting of poverty and unemployment. When she first encountered Pediatric Palliative Care as a medical student, its resonance with Medical Anthropology struck her immediately, and compelled by its experiential approach to understanding patients’ and families illness experiences and accompanying them through the illness trajectory, she decided to train in Pediatrics. She completed her Pediatrics Residency at the Cleveland Clinic, a Fellowship in Pediatric Complex Care at the Rainbow Center for Comprehensive Care at Rainbow Babies’ and Children’s Hospital, and a fellowship in Pediatric Palliative Care at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr. Porter is now an attending physician and investigator in the Division of Supportive and Palliative Care in the Department of Pediatrics at Mass General Hospital in Boston. She aspires to integrate anthropological theory and ethnographic methods into palliative care research to illuminate the lived experiences of patients, their families, and their communities that remain unseen by the medical team. Her current research focuses on understanding rest and rejuvenation experiences among family caregivers of children with medical complexity and serious illness to reimagine the pediatric respite care system. Alongside this academic passion, Amy loves practicing yoga, spending time outside, and hanging with her husband, Steve, and their four daughters, Eloise, Olive, Ivy, and Beatrice.