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Department of Anthropology

Honorary Titles

Dr Megan Wainwright, PhD

Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

(email at

I am a medical anthropologist from Québec, Canada based at the University of Cape Town as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences, School of Public Health and Family Medicine. I completed my PhD in Medical Anthropology at Durham University in 2013 and subsequently became an Honorary Research Fellow in the department. I began work at the University of Cape Town in 2015 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 'New Pedagogies for Community Health Research'. As part of the remit of this postdoc I conducted pedagogical research evaluating a field school in community health research methods. I also developed short courses in using QSR NVivo software for qualitative data management and analysis which I continue to teach.

My subsequent postdoc funded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa was for the study “Using, providing and producing home oxygen therapy: A comparative ethnographic study” which has involved fieldwork in Cape Town and Montevideo on the day to day practices and experiences surrounding the use of medicinal oxygen. In addition to investigating policy in practice, I am focused on how oxygen is conceptualized and experienced by health workers and patients. This work builds upon my PhD thesis on living-with and caring for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Uruguay (examined by Prof. Mark Nichter and Prof. Bob Simpson).

In addition to primary research I have more recently developed a keen interest and new skills in qualitative evidence synthesis and have been a member of the GRADE-CERQual coordinating group since 2015. CERQual is an approach to assessing confidence in the findings of a qualitative evidence synthesis (systematic review of qualitative research).

At Durham I am actively involved in global health diplomacy research with Dr Andrew Russell and am an international collaborator on the Life of Breath project in the Centre for Medical Humanities for which I make regular visits to Durham. A new project I am contributing to in my capacity as a freelance researcher and Honorary Research Fellow at Durham is the “AIR (Air Pollution Interdisciplinary Research) Network” lead by Dr. Patrick Bueker at the University of York, funded by a AHRC-MRC GCRF Global Public Health Partnership grant. This project aims to build a transdisciplinary team and programme of work for developing innovative, participatory solutions to air pollution and its effects on human health in low-resource settings in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Research Interests

  • Applied anthropology
  • Chronic disease
  • Encounters in healthcare
  • Ethical Dilemmas and the Political Economy of Health
  • Ethnography and qualitative methods
  • Experiential pedagogy
  • Medical anthropology
  • Public health
  • Qualitative Evidence Synthesis
  • Sensorial Anthropology
  • Socio-cultural anthropology

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Wainwright, M (2016). Rebellion and Co-Morbidity. In The Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology. Manderson,L, Hardon, A & Cartwright, E Routledge.

Conference Paper

Conference Proceeding

  • Arnaert, A. & Wainwright, M. (2008). Preliminary Results of a Home Telecare Project for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Canadian Respiratory Conference: A Breath of Fresh Air:, Montreal, Canada, Candian Respiratory Journal.

Doctoral Thesis

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Other (Print)

  • Colvin, C., Wainwright, M., Noyes, J., Munthe-Kaas, H., Garside, R., Carlsen, B., Rashidian, A., Booth, A., Glenton,C., Bohren, M., Lewin, S. & Tuncalp, O. (2015). Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research (CERQual): Development and Future Directions of a Novel Approach. Cochrane Methods (Suppl 1): 45-47.
  • Wainwright, M. (2013). Faltar el aire. Enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva cronica en Uruguay. Anuario de Antropologia Social y Cultural en Uruguay 11: 275-278.

Show all publications

Research Groups