Jack R. Friedman

Jack R. Friedman

Mailing address: 

Dr. Jack R. Friedman

Center for Applied Social Research
University of Oklahoma
2 Partners Place
3100 Monitor, Suite 100 
Norman, OK 73072

Mini biography: 

Dr. Friedman is a cultural anthropologist with specializations in psychological anthropology, medical anthropology (esp. the clinical ethnography of psychiatry and mental health care settings), environmental anthropology, economic anthropology, amd political economy.  Dr. Friedman has conducted research in a variety of settings including two major research projects in Romania and several projects in the U.S.  His research in Romania can be divided into two periods.  From 1998-2007 he studied stress, unemployment, and the collapse of communities in coal mining communities in Romania’s Jiu Valley region.  Beginning in 2004, he began a new project examining changes in post-state socialist/contemporary psychiatry in Romania. He has published widely on this research and is currently completing a manuscript emerging from his work in Romanian psychiatry.

Those projects drew Dr. Friedman into research on U.S. psychiatry and public mental health care. He spent four years (2007-2011) as the lead ethnographic researcher on a large NIMH-funded study that explored the impact – cultural, organization, and clinical – on clinical practices and outcomes of California’s implementation of Recovery Oriented services in public mental health care settings.  Since his arrival at the University of Oklahoma in 2011, Dr. Friedman has extended his medical anthropology research by studying how primary care providers in rural Oklahoma perceive their role as providers of mental health care in remote, rural communities. In addition, Dr. Friedman has contributed to recent research on Native Americans’ perceptions of cancer and cancer treatment as part of his collaboration with researchers at OU’s Health Sciences Center and OU’s Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center.

Most recently, Dr. Friedman has extended his interests in individuals and communities under stress and how they cope with that stress by contributing his expertise to a recent NSF-funded Oklahoma EPSCoR grant (2013-2018).  The research and infrastructure-building initiative associated with the EPSCoR explores coupled human and natural systems associated with climate variability in 4 watersheds and the OKC metro regions of Oklahoma.  His work examines how communities respond to climate variability – particularly, problems of drought.  He is also developing a project that will explore mental health and mental illness as a correlate of climate variability and severe weather in these communities, his goal being to consider mental health factors as a function of and/or proxy for community stress associated with severe environmental conditions.