Bending the Arc: Global Health and Social Justice

“Addressing the needs of the poor is built upon the insistence to not avert your gaze from suffering.” I was struck by these words uttered by Dr. Jim Yong Kim in a webinar on global health and social justice on October 20, 2020. Tabitha Johnson, director of the Sundance Foundation was speaking with Partners in More …

Traditional healers vital in treatment of HIV

I first met Nomsa on July 28, 2007 during a research trip. I was visiting with an HIV support group in a rural community on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, when I noticed a frail looking, wizened woman sitting on the ground in front of the home where they met. Nomsa wore a faded More …

COVID-19 response could result in rebound of HIV/AIDS

“It is staggering to think that we could lose so much so fast, that so many lives, all that effort, all those billions of dollars that got us this far could be lost. We cannot let that happen.” Peter Sands, Global Fund Executive Director. While we are all doing our best to adjust to the More …

HIV and Reproductive Health

UNAIDS, There is life after HIV, there is love. 8 March 2019. https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2019/march/20190308_life-after-hiv More …

Sexual Violence Research Initiative

If you, like me, are someone who conducts work on sexual or reproductive health there is no way that you can ignore sexual violence issues. Having conducted qualitative research on HIV and reproductive health for over a decade, I have heard many stories of women’s experiences and their fears of gender-based violence. I’ll never forget More …

A Thrice Told Tale: The founding of the Zenzele Women’s Association

As an anthropologist I am always in the business of gathering stories. And, as I have noted in an earlier post (The Danger of a Single Story), this often entails gathering multiple perspectives from people in different social positions in order to understand the full scope of an issue. In the mid-1990s I embarked on More …

On cultural humility

As an anthropologist I am always learning from others, looking for new ways to understand other cultures and groups, and new approaches to engage in making social change. Recently, a student drew my attention to the work of Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia on cultural humility vs cultural competence. I find the concept of cultural More …

What methods do ethnographers use to gather qualitative data?

Anthropologists use a holistic approach to understand how social and cultural context shapes what is happening on the ground. As an anthropologist, I am committed to listening to and working with communities, vulnerable and marginalized groups, institutions, and organizations. More …

The danger of a single story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photo portrait of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When I first watched Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, I was drawn in to her discourse on the way in which Africa and Africans are usually negatively portrayed in the media and imagined by people outside the continent. As a South African living in the United States, I identified with her lament that these negative stories overlook the many other stories that reflect people’s actual lived experiences. More …