Melissa Cheyney2019 Alumni Achievement Award recipient

The Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies at Western Michigan University announces Dr. Melissa Cheyney as a recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award and of the 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Discovery-Driven Pillar Award, both of which were celebrated on Friday, Oct. 11. The first award ceremony took place on WMU's campus and the second ceremony and dinner, called the WMU Night of Excellence, took place at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites downtown Kalamazoo. Both events were part of WMU's Homecoming and Family Weekend.

Cheyney was selected from the 22 CAS units' alumni awardees to be the winner of the CAS Discovery-Driven Pillar Award. As Dean Carla Koretsky said in announcing her selection for this second award, "The competition was fierce in all three categories this year; we were particularly impressed that Melissa would have been a contender in any of the categories. We decided on discovery-driven in part because of the unique and societally relevant nature of her research, which is clearly both learner centered and globally engaged as well.”

Cheyney has a long history of professional successes. She is now a medical anthropologist and associate professor at Oregon State University's College of Liberal Arts, with additional appointments in Public Health and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is also a licensed midwife in active practice, and is the chair of the Division of Research for the Midwives Alliance of North America, where she directs the MANA Statistics Project. Dr. Cheyney currently directs the International Reproductive Health Laboratory at Oregon State University, for which she serves as the primary investigator for more than 20 maternal and infant health-related research projects in nine countries. She is the author of an ethnography titled "Born at Home," along with dozens of peer-reviewed articles that examine the cultural beliefs and clinical outcomes associated with midwife-led birth at home, both in the United States and around the world. The WMU program of anthropology is proud to count her as one of its distinguished alumni.