Dr. Christina Getrich is a sociocultural and medical anthropologist whose research examines the health, well-being, and incorporation of mixed-immigration status families in the United States. She explores the lived and embodied experiences of U.S. immigration policies and enforcement practices to determine how immigrants, their children, and advocates maneuver to fight for broader social inclusion. Dr. Getrich has for more than 20 years conducted research with Latinx populations in the Southwest and since 2016 has been conducting research in local Maryland immigrant communities.

Dr. Getrich's first book, Border Brokers: Children of Mexican Immigrants Navigating U.S. Society, Laws, and Politics, is a longitudinal examination of the children of Mexican immigrants who grew up in mixed-status families living in the San Diego-Tijuana borderlands. Border Brokers highlights the deleterious effects of immigration policies and enforcement practices, which have shaped these young adults and their families’ configurations, economic prospects, mobility, stability and security, and health and well-being. Yet she has found that these young adults have transitioned into adulthood as grounded and skilled brokers who effectively use their secure immigration statuses, life skills, and local knowledge bases as engaged citizens committed to the political project of advocating for their communities.  

Dr. Getrich’s current research explores the health and well-being of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in Maryland. She leads a team of UMD graduate and undergraduate anthropology students who have chronicled the variable state-, county-, and city-level health policies that fragment care for DACA recipients and the mental health difficulties that they confront due to their liminal status and experiences of exclusion, which are exacerbated by the uptick in immigration enforcement locally and family members’ immigration vulnerabilities. This project has been funded by the Dean's Research Initiative, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and by the Graduate School through a Research and Scholarship Award.

Prior to coming to UMD, Dr. Getrich worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Scientist in the University of New Mexico’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. At UNM, she worked on interdisciplinary mixed-method projects that addressed cancer prevention and screening, behavioral health, primary care health service delivery, and immigrant-serving providers. Publications stemming from these projects underscore the need to pinpoint intra-ethnic variability in Latinxs’ health care access and utilization. Her research has been oriented towards promoting health equity through culturally concordant approaches that address structural barriers to care, such as the use of promotoras (community health workers) and patient navigators to bridge access gaps.

Dr. Getrich’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the American Cancer Society, UNM’s Clinical and Transnational Science Center, the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, and UMD’s Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. Prior to coming to UMD, she taught at the University of New Mexico and San Diego City College.

Dr. Getrich joined the Department of Anthropology in fall 2014 as an Assistant Professor. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology with Distinction from the University of New Mexico (2008), her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from Northern Arizona University (2001), and her B.A. in Anthropology, with a minor in Spanish, from the College of Wooster (1997).


Areas of Interest

  • Immigration and Citizenship: citizenship and belonging, immigration policies and enforcement practices, U.S. Latinx populations, mixed-status families, 1.5- and second-generation young adults
  • Health Disparities & Equity: Latinx and immigrant health and well-being, health policy, health care access, primary care health service delivery
  • U.S.-Mexico borderlands (Southern California, New Mexico, and Arizona), Maryland


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Northern Arizona University
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    College of Wooster
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University of New Mexico

Former Students

  • Kaelin Rapport
  • Yi-En Tzeng

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Emiliano Campos
  • Nicholas Galloway
  • Silvana Montañola
Dr. Getrich
2101K Woods Hall
Department of Anthropology
cgetrich [at] umd.edu