Title: Public health anthropology: concepts and tools
Keywords: Qualitative methods
International/Global Health
Country: Germany
Institution: Germany - Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, University of Heidelberg
Course coordinator: Prof. Dr. Verena Keck
Dr. Aurelia Souares
Date start: 2024-01-22
Date end: 2024-02-02
About duration and dates: 2 Weeks
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Institute of Public Health
Im Neuenheimer Feld 365, Room 007
D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
ECTS credit points: 3 ECTS credits
SIT: 90 SIT: 70 direct contact hours (50 hours of lectures and 20 hours of facilitated group work) and 20 hours self-directed learning.
Language: English
Description: At the end of the module, the student should be able to:
• Appraise the use of ethnographic methods to conduct research in order to identify cultural paradigms and practices related to health and illness
• Employ an anthropological perspective in identifying problems and finding methodological solutions and interventions to help solve public health problems encountered in the field
• Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in class to develop public health anthropology research questions and define the methodology needed to do public health anthropology research
• Use public health anthropology tools to collect and analyze data, including the use of NVIVO
Assessment Procedures: Course participants are expected to attend all teaching and group work sessions and actively participate in class and group work discussions.
Assessment of the participants’ achievement of the learning objectives will be determined by a portfolio submitted on the last morning of the course. This portfolio is divided into five parts:
1. Understanding of public health anthropology (PHA) (30 points)
Group work and presentation: Group and topics based on students’ experience will be defined; the group should explain the challenges and solutions that can be implemented based on the concepts, theories and methodologies that have been taught in this course. Each member of the group will be graded for the presentation.
Expectations from the students here are that they can summarize some of the concepts and tools used in PHA and show how they can be applied to a concrete example from their own work context.
2. Interview guidelines (20 points)
As a group written assignment participants are asked to develop an interview guide.
3. Focus group guidelines (20 points)
As a group written assignment participants are asked to develop a Focus Group Discussion guide.
For these two parts, students are evaluated on the introduction, a sample of questions, and the structure of the guides.
4. Practicing Observation (10 points)
The aim of this exercise is to allow participants to acquire a flavor of what observation entails. It is about experiencing and self-learning. Students are expected here to define a topic where observation can be useful and reflect on the few observations they have done.
5. Data analysis exercise (20 points)
Participants will receive documents for data analysis using NVivo software. Exercises include importing documents into NVivo, creating attributes, coding, creating memos, creating reports, and exporting them as attachments to the portfolio.
The maximum grade for the portfolio is 100 points. Passing mark is 60% for the entire portfolio (all five parts together). In case of failure participants have the chance to resubmit the portfolio within 4 weeks after announcement of results.
Content: The main topics to be covered in this module are:
Introduction to Public Health Anthropology (25 hours)
• Cultural ideas and practices relevant to health and disease, as a key to understanding people’s behavior
• Overview of medical systems as cultural systems
• Explanatory models and health-seeking behavior
• Research methods in Public Health Anthropology (30 hours)
• Ethnographic methods as a basis for qualitative research
• Overview of tools used for data collection
• Preparing and conducting in-depth interviews and-, focus group discussions
• Practicing observations
• Analyzing transcripts from in-depth interviews or focus group discussions using NVivo
• Rapid Appraisal Methods
Applying Public Health Anthropology in the field of:
Reproductive health, NCDs, Antimicrobial resistance, climate change, interdisciplinary and transcultural competences (15 hours)
Methods: Teaching methods will include a combination of lectures (30%), group discussions (15%), and group exercises on concepts, methods and data analysis followed by class presentations (25%), as well as case studies to illustrate the practical application of anthropological approaches to public health issues (30%).
Participants will work individually and in groups. Students will be divided in groups of maximum 5 people.
10 hours will be spent practicing NVivo to analyze data.
4 hours will be spent practicing qualitative tools for data collection: In-depth interview and focus group discussion.
In all lectures, group discussion and group exercises have a prominent place and allow active students participation.
Prerequisites: English: TOEFL test 5.5 or IELTS 6.5 or equivalent language skills
Maximum number of students (including tropEd students): 25
First come, first served
Fees: tropEd students: 1.000 EUR
General admission: 1.500 EUR
Scholarships: None
Major changes since initial accreditation: Change in second coordinator (anthropology specialist), change in the assessment procedures to make the assignment more applied as students are now evaluated based on their practice of developing tools and analyzing data as well as reflecting on the use of public health anthropology in their own practice.
Change this previous accreditation: Essay which was part of assessment procedure has been replaced by group work and presentation.
Student evaluation: “Very rich in international diverse anthropological research, excellent reception to external students, reasonably interactive”
“I really get a lot of benefits from this course, I understand the importance of medical anthropology in public health which explain the difference between the culture and the society. Also, I learned how to conduct different studies base on different methodologies, specifically using of quantitative methods, learning NVIVO tool which is highly useful”
Lessons learned: Portfolio approach for the assignment has been developed successfully.
Teaching methods in anthropology are very different to what public health students are used to, we had to adapt the methodology of teaching of our anthropologists to the expectations of the students and make their teaching more interactive and more engaging, using slides to present and more group work and discussions. This has been successfully implemented as well.
Case studies presented to show examples on how to apply PHA in different fields of Global Health are different every year to fit better with the context including new topics like climate change and antimicrobial resistance.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in Edinburgh, Sep. 2004. Re-accredited in October 2011 and October 2016. Re-accredited Jan 2022. Valid until Jan 2027
Remarks: Participants will have to download NVivo 12 before the course. There is a 14 days free trial version accessible on internet at the following webpage:
Tutorial and trial version have to be installed on personal laptop the first day of the course and participants have to bring their own laptop.

The course is co-coordinated by Dr. Aurélia Souares (Institute of Public Health, Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr. Verena Keck (Medizinethnologisches Team, Heidelberg / Goethe University Frankfurt/Main) and with the collaboration of Prof. Dr. William Sax (South Asia Institute, Heidelberg).
Email Address: anne-kathrin.fabricius@uni-heidelberg.de
Date Of Record Creation: 2011-11-14 05:12:21 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2011-11-14 06:18:46 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2022-05-30 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2023-10-19 09:46:50 (W3C-DTF)