Working group objective
Support and promote studies examining the social aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic e.g., social science research exploring ethical issues, biomedical research including clinical trials, public health responses, etc.
Working group members
I am an assistant professor of Anthropology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. My research interests address the following domains: Prison-society nexus, (bio)security, (i)legalities, critical migration and borders studies, and citizenship. I am currently exploring the impact of the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic on the prison system and on prisoners’ families and neighbourhood networks in Chile.
Luisa Enria is Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Her research focuses on ethnographic approaches to conflict, humanitarian interventions, and global health particularly in West Africa. In 2015 she was deployed as an anthropologist to support the response to the West African Ebola outbreak, carrying out 14 months of fieldwork in Northern Sierra Leone to research community experiences of the epidemic and its response, and in particular, perspectives on the Ebola vaccine trials. Since then, her work has focused on outbreak preparedness and response, community engagement with clinical research and the politics of emergency and crisis management. Alongside this work, she has developed applied social science trainings for a range of audiences, including for community health workers to conduct research on vaccine hesitancy and, more recently, local experiences of COVID-19.
Dumile Gumede is a lecturer at the Durban University of Technology (South Africa) and an experienced social behavioural scientist with a background in public health and socio-behavioural studies. Her main research interest is to understand how social and context influence one’s behaviours and health. She has conducted and managed social science studies on HIV, TB, COVID-19 and non-communicable diseases among vulnerable populations at various institutions including the Africa Health Research Institute and the South African Medical Research Council. Her experience also includes coordination of training and capacity development programmes for social science teams and facilitation of community engagement interventions with key stakeholders. She has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences and has published peer-reviewed journal articles in the fields of adolescent health and well-being, HIV prevention, health systems, innovative research methods, and research ethics. Currently, she is completing her PhD thesis at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (School of Applied Human Sciences). The title of her PhD thesis is ‘Caring for adolescents by older caregivers in the context of HIV combination prevention interventions in rural KwaZulu-Natal: An ethnographic approach’.
Dr David Kaawa-Mafigiri is a Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Social Work and Social Administration, School of Social Sciences, Makerere University Kampala. As a medical anthropologist with public health training experience, he integrates biomedical and socio-behavioural/community perspectives to health sciences research and education through robust interdisciplinary training. Dr Kaawa-Mafigiri embeds social science research techniques including ethnography to improve response to outbreaks and epidemics of infectious diseases and antimicrobial threats in the great lakes region of East and Central Africa. He has participated on the National Task Force for Avian influenzas and other zoonotic disease outbreaks as the Lead Anthropologist. He is also a senior research fellow at Equal Opportunity for Women and Children (EWOC) a National NGO dedicated to the wellbeing of women and children through better access to their rights. Additionally, he is a member and Secretary for the Makerere University School of Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (MAKSS REC). Research interests include: Anthropology of infectious diseases; International health; Urban health; Political economy; HIV/AIDS; Tuberculosis; emerging infectious disease outbreak preparedness and response, Social networks, social support and community-based approaches to health care delivery, health beliefs and health behaviour; Uganda, East Africa.
Frédéric Le Marcis is a Professor of Social Anthropology at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon and research professor at Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), member of TransVIHMI research group (IRD UMI 233 – Inserm U 1175 – Université de Montpellier). His research explores health issues in West and Southern Africa and the circulation of global models of care and punishment. He lives permanently in Conakry, Guinea.
I am a medical anthropologist, conducting research on gender, violence (gender-based and structural), and epidemics (HIV, Ebola and COVID-19). I lead a number of anthropological studies on vaccine deployment and the social aspects of epidemics. I also am on the executive committee and work-package lead for the ALERRT consortium, where I conduct research on community engagement for biomedical research for epidemics across sub-Saharan Africa. I also lead on research projects which focus on the prevention of intimate partner violence in Africa, which has public and global health implications. Alongside a number of social science studies on intimate partner violence in sub-Saharan Africa, I am PI and coordinator for a large-scale community based IPV prevention trial in Tanzania. Through this work I have an in-depth knowledge of global health policy and systems. I bring anthropological expertise to multi-disciplinary public health inventions (including health systems research, clinical trials, or violence prevention interventions), as well exploring the impact of these interventions on people and their communities. Much of my research is informing policy around epidemic preparedness and the prevention of intimate partner violence. I sit on a number of steering committees to influence policy and research agendas in these fields
Dr Leesa Lin is a Behavioural and Communication Scientist whose research has centred around emergency risk communications, evaluation of public health interventions, assessment of public health systems’ emergency preparedness and response, and social and behavioural determinants of health during large-scale public health emergencies, including pandemics and acute infectious disease outbreaks, earthquakes, water crises, and antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Employing a mixed-methods approach, she specialises in developing and evaluating interventions for behavioural change that address critical public health issues including child health and development, mental health, and vaccine uptake. Dr Lin holds a PhD in Implementation Science, Behavioural and Decision Sciences, and Social Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, a MSc in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a BA in Psychology and Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia.
I am a social psychologist, with a PhD in Public health. Working at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil, I am a public health researcher at the National School of Public Health, Coordinator of Zika Social Sciences Network since 2016, and also Coordinator of Social Impacts of COVID-19 at Fiocruz COVID Observatory. I am interested in qualitative studies, Social Studies of Sciences (STS), Public Health Emergencies in LMICs and Global Health entanglements.
Professor Koen Peeters (also: Koen Peeters Grietens) heads the Medical Anthropology Unit at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp and is a senior lecturer at Nagasaki University. He holds a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology and has conducted extensive research on sociocultural factors related to infectious disease transmission dynamics, community perceptions on health and illness, and their impact on the effectiveness of prevention, control and elimination strategies. His professional experience is characterized by high international mobility and extensive field research in low-income countries, including West Africa, Latin America, and South-East Asia.
Ma. Mercedes G. Planta is Associate Professor of History at the Department of History and Faculty Affiliate of the Asian Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman. Her work focuses on the history of medicine and colonial Southeast Asia. She is currently Deputy Editor of the Regional Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (RJSEAS), an international, peer-reviewed journal that seeks to provide a platform for Southeast Asian scholars based in Southeast Asia to share their research internationally. Her book, Traditional Medicine in the Colonial Philippines, 16th to the 19th Century (2017), was awarded Best Book in Science by the National Book Awards of the Philippines in 2018. In the same year, she was awarded the Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellowship by the American Philosophical Society. In 2019, she was also conferred the title University Scientist of the University of the Philippines System.
Salla Sariola is a research group leader in Sociology at University of Helsinki that focuses on human-microbial relations. Currently, the group’s work explores human-microbial relations pertaining to COVID-19, AMR, the human microbiome, environmental microbes, fermentation traditions, and composting. Her research interests also include clinical trials in low and middle income countries as well as community engagement of global health research. In her previous work, she has also explored gender and sexuality, and HIV activism and interventions. Salla is the author of Ethics and Politics of Community Engagement in Global Health Research (2020, with Lindsey Reynolds, Routledge), Research as Development: Biomedical Research, Ethics and Collaboration in Sri Lanka (2019, with Bob Simpson, Cornell University Press) and Gender and Sexuality in India: Selling sex in Chennai (Routledge 2012).
Dr Megan Schmidt-Sane is a postdoctoral researcher with the Institute of Development Studies on the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform. She is a medical anthropologist working on social science research, with a focus on epidemic diseases, political economy, community resilience, and urban health, mainly in East Africa and South Asia. Her doctoral dissertation research (funded by the National Science Foundation), focused on the political economy of HIV risk among men in an informal settlement in Kampala, Uganda. In collaboration with colleagues from Makerere University and UNICEF, she co-led research on the social context of Ebola in Uganda’s borderlands during the ongoing 2018-2019 epidemic in the DRC.
My broad interests are concerned with the potential health contribution that an explicit focus on gender and masculinity can bring to men, women and their families. My PhD on ‘Dividuality, masculine respectability and reputation: exploring the link between men’s uptake of HIV treatment and their masculinity in rural eastern Uganda’, examined men’s health seeking behaviour for HIV in a gold mining area in Busia district, eastern Uganda. I have published several articles on this topic (see list of peer reviewed publications below). My current work focuses on understanding men’s relationship risks with female sex partners, and in developing and evaluating interventions on parenting to reduce sexual and gender-based violence, and child abuse. I also maintain an interest in exploring and testing interventions for young people and thier parents living with HIV.
My areas of research and interest revolve around working with children, adolescents, and their significant others (parents, teachers, and peers) across all care settings. In particular, my recent research focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral interventions to improve psychological functioning for individuals in low-and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor Wiysonge is the Director of Cochrane South Africa at the South African Medical Research Council; an Honorary Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Cape Town (UCT); and an Extraordinary Professor of Global Health at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. His previous appointments include Deputy Director of the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care and Professor of Community Health at Stellenbosch University; Chief Research Officer at UCT, South Africa; Chief Research Officer at UNAIDS, Geneva, Switzerland; Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Central Technical Group of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Cameroon; and Medical Epidemiologist at the Pasteur Centre of Cameroon. He is a member of various advisory committees in the fields of research, vaccination, and evidence-based policy in Africa and globally. Professor Wiysonge obtained an MD from the University of Yaoundé I Cameroon in 1995, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge UK in 2000, and a PhD from UCT in 2012.
COVID-19 vaccine development: Lessons learned from social science research and community engagement in clinical trials in low-resource settings
14 January 2021
Operational experience for COVID-19 vaccine trials: Lessons from the field
17 March 2021
Building community trust for COVID-19 vaccine confidence and deployment
14 October 2021