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Institut für Public Health

Public Health Anthropology: Concepts and Tools

January 22 - February 02, 2018 (application starting August 15, 2017)

Tuition Fees
: General Admission €1,500; tropEd €1,000

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This course equals 90 hrs of student investment time (56 hrs of lectures, 14 hrs of facilitated group work and 20 hrs of self-study time). It is open to tropEd students, public health professionals, project planners and managers, paramedical staff, social scientists and other professional groups interested in vocational training. TropEd students can earn 3 ECTS points.

Entry Requirements

"Public Health Anthropology: Concepts and Tools" is held in English. Course participants should have excellent command/high level of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English.

Participants should also download and install Nvivo 9 tutorial and trial version and bring their own laptops to class. Login details will be sent out before course commencement.

Content Overview

1. Introduction to Public Health Anthropology

  • Cultural ideas and practices relevant to health and disease, as a key to understanding people’s behaviour

  • Overview of medical systems as cultural systems

  • Explanatory models and health seeking behaviour

2. Research Methods in Public Health Anthropology

  • Defining a public health anthropology research question and the appropriate methods

  • Overview of tools used for data collection 

  • Preparing and conducting in-depth interview

  • Methods and procedures for qualitative data analysis

  • Methods for analysing qualitative data

3. Application of Anthropological Approaches to Public Health Care Provision

  • Case studies of Malaria control, HIV/AIDS, community empowerment, chronic and lifestyles diseases and cultural factors in doctor patient interactions in the West

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course the participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the concept of public health anthropology and its role in research, policy, and practice in public health
  • Recognise the impact of cultural paradigms and practices related to illness and to health care provision in different cultural settings
  • Employ an anthropological perspective in identifying problems and finding solutions to public health problems encountered in the field
  • Use anthropological methods to identify cultural paradigms and practices related to health and illness
  • Critically contextualize and evaluate medical and policy issues in public health from an anthropological perspective
  • Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in class to develop research questions and define the methodology needed to do public health anthropology research
  • Apply public health anthropology tools to collect and analyse data, including the use of software technology

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods will include a combination of lectures, group discussions, and group exercises on concepts, methods and data analysis followed by class presentations as well as case studies to illustrate the practical application of anthropological approaches to public health issues. Participants will work individually and in groups. Students will be divided in groups of maximum 4 people.


Course participants are expected to attend all classes and actively participate during class discussions and group work.

Students will be assessed on: group presentations on selected case studies (40%) and an individual written summary of data analysis (60%).

TropEd students can earn 3 ECTS.

Course Fee

  • General Admittance: € 1.500.-
  • tropEd students: € 1.000.-

Included in the course fee is a non-refundable registration fee of € 200.-


Please register as soon as possible as the number of participants is limited.


Unfortunately, no Scholarships are available.


If the participant withdraws from the course

  • less than 6 weeks prior: 25 % of the course fee will be charged.
  • less than 4 weeks prior: 50 % of the course fee will be charged.
  • less than 2 weeks prior: the whole course fee will be charged.

The tuition fee does not include accommodation, insurance or other personal living costs during the stay.


Contact Registration

Anne-Kathrin Fabricius, M.A.

Assistant Short Courses Coordinator

Institute of Public Health, University of Heidelberg

Im Neuenheimer Feld 365, D-69120 Heidelberg

Fon: + 49 - (0) 62 21 - 56 43 12 

Fax: + 49 - (0) 62 21 - 56 49 18

Short Course Programme Coordinator

Nandita Rothermund-Bucher, M.A.

Institute of Public Health, University of Heidelberg

Im Neuenheimer Feld 365, D-69120 Heidelberg

Fon: + 49 - (0) 62 21 - 56 46 48 

Fax: + 49 - (0) 62 21 - 56 49 18

Course Coordinator

PD Dr. Aurélia Souares

Institute of Public Health, University of Heidelberg

Prof. apl. Dr. Verena Keck

Medical Anthropology Team, University of Heidelberg

Teaching Coordinator/
tropEd Coordinator

Dr. Pauline Grys

Institute of Public Health, University of Heidelberg

Fon: + 49 - (0) 62 21 - 56 50 48

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Course Coordinators

PD Dr. Aurélia Souares, Institute of Public Health, Heidelberg University

Prof. Dr William S. Sax, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University

Prof. apl. Dr. Verena Keck, and the Medical Anthropology Team, Heidelberg University