David Kozak is a proud Fort Lewis College alumnus. He returned to teach anthropology after receiving his M.A. in 1990 and his Ph.D. in 1994 from Arizona State University. He and his wife Kris and daughter Sasha find much joy living and working in Durango with all the diverse opportunities the area offers. In addition to spending time with his family and friends, he tries to rock climb, mountain bike, hike and camp as much as he can. In addition to the quality of life in the surrounding area he counts his interactions with his students as a highpoint of his life and career.
Dr. Kozak has published on diverse topics. His research and publications reveal a diverse set of interests from healing song poetics of the Tohono O’odham culture of southern Arizona, to Type 2 diabetes and obesity, to land access issues regarding conflicts over recreational and sacred land use. He is currently editing a large volume on the verbal arts of the Native Southwest culture area to be published by the University of Nebraska Press. With this project nearly complete he is now completing a book on adventure culture and history.
Collaborative community-based projects are close to Kozak’s heart. He has worked in several Native American communities of southern Arizona, and locally, applying his expertise to assist in problem solving regarding health and well-being matters. As a medical anthropologist he has worked with of consulted for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and Indian Health Services as well as most recently for the Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Project that is funded by the El Pomar Foundation or in assisting Engineers Without Borders develop a health survey. He has been very successful in placing his students in local applied projects.
In the summer of 2009 Kozak took 11 students to Tanzania to work on several community service projects. In two orphanages and a community clinic, students worked for the betterment of young parentless children and patients with HIV/AIDS. The project proved to be very successful and he is planning a return for the summer of 2010 and beyond.
His teaching goals and philosophy are simple: have fun with his students and inspire them as much as they inspire him.