To examine effects on the curer's role of the contest between indigenous and Western medical systems, the concept of role adaptation is proposed. Anthropological treatment of the curer's role and the role concept are described. Curing role adaptation in selected societies under acculturation is analyzed and a typology derived of the curer's role as adaptive, attenuated, or emergent. Alternative routes to role adaptation or extinction are explored. Role adaptation is considered as a conceptual tool and as it may relate to such associated notions as cultural broker, role analogue, and role ambiguity.