The Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences (DSBS) is situated in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine (SOPHFM) and was created in 2013 to coordinate the School's teaching and research in the social and behavioural sciences. The core mission of DSBS is the development of critical health social science within a public health content. The 'critical' perspective allows us to reimagine dominant ways of understanding individual behaviour and social practice, and to develop theories of health and society that are more holistic, rigorous and revealing. Our public health setting in the SOPHFM gives us the opportunity to apply these critical theories in practice in ways that ultimately strengthen both out action in and understanding of the world.
Christopher Colvin is an Associate Professor and head of DSBS. He holds a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Public Health from UCT in epidemiology. His research interests include HIV and masculinity; health activism and community health governance; trauma, subjectivity and narrative; and the interface between communities and health systems in the context of HIV/AIDS, TB and maternal and child health.
Alison Swartz is a Lecturer in the Division. She holds an Honours in Social Anthropology and a Masters in Public Health (MPH) and a PhD in Public Health from UCT. Her PhD explored the ways that young people living in precarious circumstances use their gender identities and sexual partnerships to access a more adult forms of identity. Alison currently convenes three courses on the UCT MPH Programme: Public Health and Society, Qualitative Research Methods and Qualitative Data Analysis. She also co-convenes the Social and Behavioural Sciences Track on the MPH programme.
Zara Trafford holds an MSC in Medical Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and completed her undergraduate study at the University of Cape Town. As a Junior Research Fellow in the Division, her core roles include conducting qualitative research, analysis and writing, research project management, support for human ethics research applications and publications, grants development to improve institutional research capacity for social science in public health, and supervision of MPH students.
Natasha Kannemeyer holds a BA in Psychology and works as the Special Projects Coordinator in the Division. She has an interest in expanding the reach and the presence of the Division and its research work. Natasha works as the production and art editor of the Fieldnotes site ensuring that posts are visually appealing and ready for posting in time.
Myrna van Pinxteren holds a MSc in Social Anthropology and is a PhD candidate in the Division. As a qualified journalist and anthropologist, Myrna's research interests are focused around the use of communication and information to strengthen health care and the practical use of medical anthropology in everyday life.