Nicholas Iacobelli


I am a joint MD-PhD candidate at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Department of Anthropology. My PhD is in sociocultural (medical) anthropology. My research explores healthcare services in a Pennsylvania state prison and the legacies of privatization, social service divestment, and legal culture that have helped structure it. These political, economic, and legal assemblages shape how healthcare is delivered, and conversely, how it is sought out by the convicted. With that in mind I evaluate what meanings caregiving has in an environment dedicated to punishment and what formal and informal types of care exist behind prison's walls. I also chronicle the impact that the criminal justice system has had on the lives of those convicted and the avenues they use to seek justice and belonging.

Research Interests

Medical Anthropology, Urban Health, Prison Health, Medication Adherence, Anthropology of the State, Empire, Violence, Social Suffering, Race and Gender Theory, Politics of Recognition and Belonging, Affect, Embodiment, Caregiving

Graduation Year



Dissertation Title

Wards of the State: Care and Custody In A Pennsylvania PrisonĀ 

Graduate Status