Anthropologists at Durham University undertake research which directly addresses issues of poverty, wellbeing, and social justice. These projects are often carried out in countries where the results of both global and local inequalities - in the distribution of wealth, in the ownership and use of environmental resources, in the provision of public services like health care or basic education, in the control of political power - are all too visible.
A number of overseas projects have focused on the lives of children ‘at risk', such as homeless street children, slum-dwellers in Nepal, and severely malnourished children in the famine-stricken areas of Niger. Another important project related to poverty alleviation involves research on transport availability for children in several African countries. These pioneering research projects uncover pervasive social and economic inequalities and their impact on health, livelihoods and education opportunities.
Within the UK, we are routinely involved in the evaluation of health interventions. One project involves the evaluation of ‘Healthy Living Centres' promoted by the NHS in North Tyneside (with funds from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership). Another Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with Redcar and Cleveland PCT involves the evaluation of a programme to train 'Sleep Coaches' in cognitive behavioural therapy techniques in order to manage insomnia in the community without recourse to prescribed narcotics. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Smoke Free North-East Office is also underway (see project website).
Members of MARG with an interest in evolutionary medicine are involved in a series of clinical trials of infant care interventions on the postnatal ward of the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. In evaluating ways of fostering the behavioural and physiological interactions between mothers and infants these studies are providing evidence that is being implemented in breastfeeding promotion in hospitals worldwide.