About

Gideon Lasco, MD, PhD
is a physician, medical anthropologist, and writer. He is senior lecturer at the University of the Philippines Diliman's Department of Anthropology, research fellow at the Ateneo de Manila University's Development Studies Program, and honorary fellow at Hong Kong University's Centre for Criminology. He is currently based in Mexico City where he is doing comparative research on COVID-19 responses, and language studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.   

He obtained his medical (MD) and master's degrees (MSc in Medical Anthropology) from the UP College of Medicine, and his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam. A recipient of the Palanca Award for Essay, he maintains a weekly column on health, culture, and national affairs in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as well as a column in SAPIENS that focuses on the relationships of humans with other living and non-living things. 

Dr. Lasco's research projects have yielded over 40 journal articles and book chapters in the past four years and include medical populism during times of health crises, popular perceptions and practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, the drug wars in the Philippines and Asia, the meanings and materialities of human stature in the Philippines, noncommunicable diseases, and making sense of young people's bodily and chemical practices. He was visiting PhD researcher at the Washington University of St. Louis (2015) and National University of Singapore's Asia Research Institute (2016); visiting faculty at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil where he taught a course in Medical Anthropology (2019); and visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Department of Communication (2021). He has also served as consultant for organizations like the Asian Development Bank, International Drug Policy Consortium, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2019, he was selected as an Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity in Southeast Asia.

Beyond his work in medical anthropology and public health, he is also involved in environmental and civic initiatives, building not just on his academic background but his lifelong pursuit of mountain climbing. He is a trustee of Centre for Sustainability, an environmental non-profit organisation based in Palawan and of the Philippine Center for Investigate Journalism (PCIJ), as well as board member of Ugnayang Pang-Agham Tao (UGAT), the national association of anthropologists in the Philippines. 

His collection of essays, The Philippines Is Not A Small Country, was published by the Ateneo de Manila Press in September 2020, and his ethnographic monograph on human stature, Height Matters, The Making, Meanings, and Materialities of Human Stature in the Philippines, is forthcoming with the University of the Philippines Press. He is also the editor of Drugs and Philippines Society (Ateneo Press, 2021), a collection of critical perspectives on drug use and drug policy in the country. 

Updated November 2021