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Dr Megan Wainwright, PhD

Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology

(email at

I have been an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology since July 2013. Currently I am a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cape Town in the Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. In 2013 I was a Traveling Faculty member  for World Learning on the International Honors Program Health and Community: Globalization, Culture and Care. I taught 32 undergraduates as we travelled to Washington DC, New Delhi, Hanoi and Cape Town. Prior to this I was a post-doctoral research associate in the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University.

On March 21st 2013 I successfully defended my thesis "Breathing and Breathlessness: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Uruguay". My examiners were Professor Bob Simpson (Durham University) and Regents' Professor and Professor of Anthropology, Family Medicine and Public Health, Mark Nichter (University of Arizona). The thesis draws together diverse data gathered over 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in two Uruguayan cities investigating how COPD is being lived-with and cared-for across age, severity, gender and socio-economic spectrums. I had the pleasure of being the first Van Mildert College Trust Research Scholar.

I have a very keen and longstanding interest in living with chronic conditions and have investigated the experience of people and families living with chronic conditions ranging from chronic constipation, end stage renal disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These studies have been interdisciplinary and collaborative and carried out in French, English and Spanish. Before coming to Durham as a MSc student in 2008 I worked at McGill University as a research assistant in the School of Nursing and in McGill Programs in Whole Person Care in the Faculty of Medicine.

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Research Interests

  • Applied anthropology
  • Chronic disease
  • Encounters in healthcare
  • End-of-life
  • Ethical Dilemmas and the Political Economy of Health
  • Ethnography and qualitative methods
  • Latin America
  • Medical anthropology
  • Public health
  • Sensorial Anthropology
  • Socio-cultural anthropology
  • Subjective quality of life


Edited works: conference proceedings

  • Wainwright, M. (2012). Perspectivas y Investigaciones Antropologicas en Salud y Enfermedad. Seminario de Extension, Casa de la Universidad Tacuarembo, Tacuarembo, Anuario de Antropologia Social y Cultural en Uruguay.
  • 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.

Journal papers: academic

  • Russell, A.J., Wainwright, M. & Mamudu, H.M. (2014). A chilling example? Uruguay, Phillip Morris International, and the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Medical Anthropology Quarterly
  • Wainwright, M., Russell, A. & Yiannakou, Y. (2011). Challenging the Biopsychosocial Model in a Chronic Constipation Clinic. Qualitative Health Research 21(12): 1643-1657.
  • Allen, D., Wainwright, M. & Hutchinson, T. (2011). Non-compliance as illness management: Hemodialysis patients' descriptions of adversarial patient-clinician interactions. Social Science & Medicine 73: 129-134.
  • Wainwright, M. & Russell, A. (2010). Using NVivo Audio-Coding: Practical, Sensorial and Epistemological Considerations. Social Research Update (60): 1-4.
  • Arnaert, A., Seller, R. & Wainwright M. (2009). Homecare Nurses’ Attitudes to Palliative Care in a Rural Community of Western Quebec. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing 11(4).
  • Arnaert, A. & Wainwright, M. (2009). Providing care and sharing expertise: reflections of nurse-specialists in palliative homecare. The Journal of Palliative and Supportive Care 7(357-364).
  • Arnaert, A. & Wainwright, M. (2008). Designing and Implementing a Home Telecare Service for Elderly Patients with COPD: Steps and Challenges. The Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics 3(2): 49-83.
  • Allen, D., Wainwright, M., Hutchinson, T. & Mount, B. (2008). The wounding path to becoming healers: Medical students’ apprenticeship experiences. Medical Teacher 30(3): 260-65.

Other media: research equivalent

Short Works

Theses: PhD

Selected Grants

  • 2012: Santander Mobility Grant, Durham University
  • 2011: Santander Mobility Grant, Durham University
  • 2010: Society of Latin American Studies Travel Grant
  • 2009: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF CHRONIC CONSTIPATION (£1500.00 from 3 Com Europe Ltd)
  • 2009: Research and Development Springboard Grant, County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust for MSc field work
  • 2009: Van Mildert College Trust Research Scholarship for 3 year PhD
  • 2008: Durham Academic Scholarship
  • 2004: McConnell Award, McGill University Scholarship
  • 2003: Julie Zachau Memorial Scholarship