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Durham University

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Dr Megan Wainwright, PhD

Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

(email at

I completed my PhD in Medical Anthropology at Durham University in 2013 and subsequently became an Honorary Fellow in the department. Since the PhD I have completed postdoctoral work and fellowships in the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University and the Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town (2014-2018). I currently work for Dr. Myra Piat at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal as a member of the review team undertaking a mixed-studies systematic review of the implementation of the recovery approach into mental health services and as a researcher on an pan-Canadian implementation study.

My main areas of work are the anthropology of chronic illness, the intersection of public health and medical anthropology, evidence synthesis/systematic reviews and the GRADE-CERQual approach, NVivo software for qualitative data-management and analysis, experiential pedagogy, and global health diplomacy. 

The research I carried-out while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town was entitled “Using, providing and producing home oxygen therapy: A comparative ethnographic study”. The research involved fieldwork in Cape Town and Montevideo on the day to day practices and experiences surrounding the use of medicinal oxygen across public and private healthcare. 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).

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 have made regular visits to Durham. I was a co-investigator on the “AIR (Air Pollution Interdisciplinary Research) Network” project lead by Dr. Sarah West at the University of York, funded by a AHRC-MRC GCRF Global Public Health Partnership grant. This project aimed 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 Groups

Department of Anthropology

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

Indicators of Esteem

  • Arthur Maurice Hocast Prize 2009:

    This annual prize, administered by the Royal Anthropological Institute, is awarded to the best postgraduate essay on an anthropological topic from across Great Britain and Ireland. Essay title: Taking Constipation Seriously: An Ethnographic Study of the Patient's Perspective on Illness Experience and Interactions in Healthcare.

  • Dryburn Research Prize 2010:

    Awarded by a panel of three judges from the University Hospital of North Durham for the research entitled: An Ethnographic Investigation of Chronic Constipation Patients Experience of Illness and Healthcare Relationships

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

Edited Journal

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

Selected Grants

  • 2017: AHRC-MRC GCRF Global Public Health: Partnership (Co-Investigator)
  • 2016: Brocher Foundation Workshop Grant (co-applicant)
  • 2015: Brocher Foundation Workshop Grant (co-applicant)
  • 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