Skip to main content
Sherylyn Briller

Sherylyn Briller

Professor // Anthropology

Affiliated Faculty // Critical Disability Studies // SIS

Office and Contact

Room: STON 317

Office hours: By appointment


Phone: (765) 494-4683


Courses Taught in the Last Three Years

Anthropology of Aging

Applied Anthropology Methods

Anthropology Practicum

Design & Innovation: Designing for People (co-taught with Purdue Polytechnic Institute)

Global Health

Development of Contemporary Anthropological Theory

Senior Capstone: Professional Development for Undergraduates

Public Engagement: Using Anthropological Knowledge

Sherylyn Briller received her PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 2000 and joined the faculty at Purdue University in 2014. She was previously appointed as a tenured faculty member at Wayne State University.

Faculty Associate: Center on Aging and the Life Course


Dr. Sherylyn Briller is an applied cultural/medical anthropologist specializing in aging, life course, disability, end-of-life issues and global health. She is the current President of the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Dr. Briller has conducted research in Mongolia and the United States. She is a Faculty Associate in the Center on Aging and the Life Course. Her professional interests extend to anthropologists’ education, career development, and interdisciplinary collaboration. She was hired to guide the expansion of anthropological application and practice at Purdue. Briller is a Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology and the Co-Chair of the Consortium of Applied and Practicing Anthropology Programs. She is a former President of the Association for Anthropology & Gerontology Education.




Briller, S. and Goldmacher, A. (2020) Designing An Anthropological Career: Professional Development Exercises. Second Edition. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. (In press)

Briller, S. and Goldmacher, A. (2009) Designing An Anthropological Career: Professional Development Exercises. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Gelfand, D. E., Raspa, R., Briller, S.H. and Schim, S.M., eds. (2005) End-of-Life Stories: Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries. New York: Springer.

Briller, S. Proffitt, M., Perez, K. and Calkins,.M.P. (2001) Understanding the Environment Through Aging Senses, Vol. 2. In M. P. Calkins, Creating Successful Dementia Care Settings (series). Baltimore, MD: Health Professions Press.

Briller, S., Proffitt, M., Perez, K. and Calkins, M.P.(2001) Maximizing Cognitive and Functional Abilities, Vol. 3. In M. P. Calkins, Creating Successful Dementia Care Settings (series). Baltimore, MD: Health Professions Press.

Marsden, J.P, Briller, S., Calkins, M.P. and Proffitt, M. (2001) Enhancing Self and Sense of Home, Vol. 4. In M. P. Calkins, Creating Successful Dementia Care Settings (series). Baltimore, MD: Health Professions Press.

Proffitt, M. and Briller, S. (2002) The Unit’s Edge: Exploring the Boundary Between Public and Private Domains in Residential Settings for Older Persons. Milwaukee, WI: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Center for Architecture & Urban Planning Research Publishers. (Design Monograph)

Peer Reviewed Articles

Briller, S and Carrillo, E (2020) Review Article: Applying Anthropological Insight in an Aging World. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. (Forthcoming)

Ayalon. L, Nevedal, A and Briller, S (2019) Capturing Change and Stability in Longitudinal Qualitative Research: Insights from a Study about Aging and Life Transitions in Israeli Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Educational Gerontology. 44:12, 735-765. 

Nevedal, A, Ayalon. L, and Briller, S (2018) A Qualitative Evidence Synthesis Review of Longitudinal Qualitative Research in Gerontology. The Gerontologist, gny134, 

Michalopolou, G, Briller, S, Compton-Katzer, K, Muklewicz, K, Secord, E.,Crider, B & Wasiluk, J & Schim, S (2017) Treatment Collaboration When the Stakes are High: Ethnographically Studying Family-Centered Care in an Outpatient Specialty Clinic. Journal of Patient Experience. 7

Michalopoulou, G, Briller, SH.., Myers-Schim, S, Muklewicz, K, Katzer, K, Secord, E, Crider, B & Wasiluk, J. (2016) Teaching about Better Family Clinician Partnerships in High Risk Asthma Care. Journal of Patient Experience, 1-4, DOI:10.1177/23743735|6666976

Briody, E. and Briller, S.H. (2015) Pursuing a Desired Future: Continuity and Change in a Long Term Care Community. Journal of Applied Gerontology. 131, DOI:10.1177/07334648|5608496.

Briller, S.H. and Sankar, A. (2013) Engaging Opportunities In Urban Revitalization: Practicing Detroit Anthropology. Annals in Anthropological Practice. 37(1): 156-178

Briller, S.H., Schim, S.M, Thurston, C.S. & Meert, K.L. (2012) Conceptual and design issues in instrument development for research with bereaved parents. Omega: The Journal of Death& Dying. 65(2):151-168.

Meert, K.L, Templin, T., Michelson, KN, Morrsion, WE, Hackbarth, R. Custer, JR, Schim, SM, Briller, S.H. & Thurston, C.S. (2012) The bereaved parents needs assessment: A new instrument to assess the needs of bereaved parents whose children died in the pediatric intensive care unit. Critical Care Medicine. 40(11): 3050-3057.

Meert, K.L, Schim, S.M, Briller, S.H. (2011) Parental bereavement needs in the pediatric intensive care unit: Review of available measures Journal of Palliative Medicine. 14(8): 951-964.

Meert, K.L., Briller, S.H., Schim, S.M., Thurston, C.S. & Kabel, A. (2009) Examining the Needs of Bereaved Parents in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU): A Qualitative Study. Death Studies. 33(8): 712-740.

Briller, S.H., Meert, K.L., Schim, S.M., Thurston, C.S.& Kabel, A. (2008) Implementing a Triangulation Protocol in Bereavement Research: A Methodological Discussion. Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying. 57 (3): 245-260.

Meert, K.L., Briller, S.H., Schim, S.M. & Thurston, C.S. (2008) Exploring Environmental Needs of Parents At the Time of A Child’s Death In Pediatric Intensive Care. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. 9 (6): 623-628

Briller, S.H. and Kabel, A. (2008) The Making of Ritual Specialists: What Cultural Anthropologists Can Contribute to the Education of Funeral Service Professionals. Practicing Anthropology. 30 (1): 45-49.

Briller, S.H., Schim, S.M., Meert, K.L., and Thurston, C. (2007-2008) Special Considerations in Conducting Bereavement Focus Groups. Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying. 56 (3): 255-271.

Schim, S.M., Briller, S.H, Thurston, C.S., Meert, K.L. (2007) Life as Death Scholars. Death Studies. 31(2): 165-172.

Meert, K., Thurston, C., Briller, S. (2005) Spiritual Needs of Bereaved Parents. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. 6 (4): 420-427.

Doorenbos, A., Briller, S. and Chapleski, E. (2003) Weaving Cultural Context into an Interdisciplinary End of Life Curriculum. Educational Gerontology. 29 (5): 405-416.

Marsden, J., Calkins, M. Briller, S. (2003) Educating Long Term Care Staff about Therapeutic Environments. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research. 20 (10): 68-74.

Briller, S. and M. Calkins (2000) Defining Place-based Models of Care: Conceptualizing Care Settings As Home, Resort or Hospital. Alzheimer’s Care Quarterly. 1 (1): 15-21.

Briller, S. (1997) Out in the Cold: Mongolia Grapples with its First Generation of Street Children. Natural History. 106(6): 24-32.

Gombeski, W., Briller, S., Fishleder, A. Bat-Cirjak, E., Rothner, D., Secic, M. (1997) Marketing Impact of Health Education Programs. Journal of Hospital Marketing. 11(2): 91-103.

Briller, S. (1997) Pensions Are What Feed Us: The Impact of the Changing Value of Old Age Pensions in Mongolia. Association for Anthropology & Gerontology News (Summer 1997).

Bendycki, N and Briller, S. (1996) Getting Closer to the Customer: Healthcare Marketing. Practicing Anthropology 18(2): 26-29.

Extramural Grant Support

Briller’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, IREX: International Research and Exchanges Board, Children’s Research Center of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center, and the Michigan Department of Health.

Honors and Awards

Purdue College of Liberal Arts Faculty Excellence in Engagement Award (2018)

Fellow, Society For Applied AnthropologyWayne State University Presidential Award for Excellence in TeachingWayne State University Academy of Scholars, Liberal Arts Junior Faculty Scholar AwardNational Institute on Aging/Brookdale Foundation Summer Institute on Aging Research, National Institutes of Health