Ethnography Team

Gloria Diaz, MPH, graduated from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University with a degree in Sociomedical Sciences Research and currently resides in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Her research interests are ethnic and racial identity, racism and its effects on health and working towards the elimination of health disparities. When she is not hanging out on campus she loves dancing, volunteering at a community garden and taking long walks around the city.



Jennifer S. Hirsch, Ph.D., one of the two Principal Investigators of SHIFT, is Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health. A native New Yorker, she was delighted to return to the city in 2004, when she joined the Columbia faculty.  Her areas of research expertise are gender, sexuality, HIV and reproductive health; Mexico-US migration, and the application of anthropological theory and methods to public health.  She lives in the Morningside Heights neighborhood with her husband (John Santelli, who is also a SHIFT investigator and a Mailman faculty member) and their two adolescent sons. She’s a board member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice as well as an active participant in the statewide campaign to improve labor protections for agricultural workers. In the rare idle moment, she enjoys running and biking in Riverside Park, although she is also perfectly happy to watch trashy TV shows with her family.


Shamus Khan, Ph.D., teaches in the sociology department, where he is the director of graduate studies. He writes on inequality, elites, gender, and American culture. He is the editor of Public Culture. Shamus plays the violin, co-founded the Underground Food Collective, and was banned from the city of Glasgow by that city’s mayor during a misunderstanding at the Tartan Ball in 2007. He has never tested that ban, but plans to one day.



Alexander Wamboldt, MA, one of the ethnographic researchers for SHIFT, is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at Princeton University. Recently returned from his fieldwork, Alexander's areas of expertise are gender and sexuality, religion, the law, Judaic Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies. A former downhill skier and snowboarder as well as tennis player, Alex now competes in long-distance cycling races.