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Dr Megan Wainwright, PhD

Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

(email at

I am a medical anthropologist from Québec, Canada with a strong interest in the anthropology of chronic illness, qualitative research methods and training, global health diplomacy, and audio/visual methods and outputs. I have been an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology since July 2013. I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town in the Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. At UCT I am currently working in the field of new pedagogies for community health research, looking particularly at field-based experiential learning and engagement with local communities who host researchers-in-training. Later this year I will begin a project funded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa to study the experiential and macro-political realities of long-term oxygen therapy in South Africa and Uruguay for COPD and other chronic respiratory conditions.

My PhD, an ethnographic study of living-with and caring-for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Uruguay, was examined by Professor Bob Simpson (Durham University) and Regents' Professor and Professor of Anthropology, Family Medicine and Public Health, Mark Nichter (University of Arizona) and was completed in May 2013. Since then I carried-out the preliminary work for the "Life of Breath" Wellcome Trust grant as a postdoc in the Centre for Medical Humanities, and was 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.

As an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University, I continue to collaborate with colleagues in the Centre for Medical Humanities and with Dr. Andrew Russell in particular with whom I have carried out research on global health diplomacy at the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

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


Books: sections

  • Wainwright, M (2016). Rebellion and Co-Morbidity. In Vital Signs: Medical Anthropology in the 21st Century. Manderson,L, Hardon, A & Cartwright, E Routledge.

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

Other media: research equivalent

Short Works

Theses: PhD

Selected Grants

  • 2014: Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Research Foundation of South Africa
  • 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 patients' experiences of illness and healthcare relationships (£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