Dr. Caitlyn Placek, associate professor in Ball State University’s Department of Anthropology, is spending six months abroad as a recipient of the Fulbright Global Scholar Award—part of the Fulbright Scholar Program.

During the 2023-24 academic year, Dr. Placek is spending time in Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom to conduct research for a project titled, “The Impact of Cultural Models of Addiction and Motherhood: A Cross-Cultural Study.”

Dr. Placek’s research will focus on how cultural models of addiction and motherhood impact psychological well-being and other recovery indicators in mothers. Another aim of the study is to generate lessons learned and conversations on best practices surrounding maternal health and treatment for substance use disorders.

“I’m grateful and excited for the opportunity provided by the Fulbright Scholar Program to conduct collaborative research in these countries where opioid-related deaths continue to rise, particularly among reproductive-aged women who face ongoing challenges in accessing care,” Dr. Placek said. “Data generated from this opportunity will contribute to a better understanding of the culturally driven supportive factors and barriers women experience in seeking and sustaining recovery.”

The Fulbright Global Scholar Award enables U.S. academics and professionals to engage in multi-country, trans-regional projects. As a worldwide award, U.S. scholars can propose research or combined teaching/research activity in two to three countries with flexible schedule options; trips can be conducted within one academic year or spread over two consecutive years.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is designed to expand and strengthen the relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world. To support this mission, grantees will be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host country community in addition to their primary research or teaching/research activity.

Prior to coming to Ball State in 2017, Dr. Placek was awarded the National Institutes of Health Fogarty Fellowship to study substance use among reproductive-aged women and men in south India. Dr. Placek also published a book titled, “Drug Use, Recovery, and Maternal Instinct Bias: A Biocultural and Social-Ecological Approach,” focusing on previous research on mothers with substance use disorders in Indiana, which will be released in Spring 2024.

Dr. Placek earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and anthropology from Eastern Kentucky University in 2008 before earning her master’s (2011) and doctorate (2016) in anthropology from Washington State University.