June 7th Guy’s Campus: Professor McKevitt’s Inaugural Lecture “Ways of knowing in public health: epidemiology, ethnography and experiential”

When: June 7th, 2017, 17:30-18:30

Where: Harris Lecture Theatre, Hodgkin Building, Guy’s Campus

Speaker: Professor Chris McKevitt, Division of Health and Social Care Research

Title: “Ways of knowing in public health: epidemiology, ethnography and experiential”

mckevitt140x180.jpgMore info: Inaugural lectures are an opportunity for Professors to introduce themselves and to present an overview of their own contribution to their field as well as highlight the latest developments in a discipline to an audience consisting of both members of the university and the wider general public.

To attend this lecture, please register online.

Abstract: How do we know what we know in public health research? This inaugural lecture considers some of the different ways in which disease, health and efforts to intervene to improve health have been investigated and represented in the public health research I’ve been involved in, including studies of stroke and stroke care, and studies of aspects of translational research. I first consider two diverse, traditional forms of expert-led knowledge production: epidemiology and ethnography.  By indentifying patterns of disease in populations, epidemiology can inform decisions about where and how to intervene to improve human health. Derived from social anthropology, ethnographic research privileges the subjective, contextual and sense making, and is increasingly being applied to understand how institutions and interventions work, and often do not work, with the goal of refining practice. I then review a newer approach to knowledge production: patient and public involvement in health research which is premised on the idea that lay people’s experiential knowledge constitutes a form of expertise that can be put to work to enhance knowing and doing for health. I will consider whether these different ways of knowing the world are contradictory, in competition, and irreconcilable; or whether they might all be considered partial perspectives, in search of integration.

About Professor McKevitt: Christopher McKevitt studied social anthropology and Italian at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, followed by a PhD in social anthropology at the London School of Economics & Political Science. His fieldwork was conducted in San Giovanni Rotondo, southern Italy, where he investigated competing notions of suffering and sanctity that animate the cult of the Catholic saint Padre Pio. His first post-doc research experience came in the form of HIV/AIDS health services research in the Department of Public Health at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. This was followed by a stint working in HIV/AIDS activism and community based service delivery in Milan in the early 1990s. Since then he has also conducted research on how doctors deal with their own illnesses, and on stroke. His stroke research is embedded in the South London Stroke Register and has focused on the experiences of stroke survivors and their family members, and the development and evaluation of novel methods of providing care after stroke. In 2005 he set up the King’s College London Stroke Research Patients and Family Group, which seeks to put into practice the idea that research subjects should be involved in how research is developed and conducted. This practical activity informs his other research interest in how, why, and with what consequences citizens are persuaded to be involved in health system development, health research and implementation of new ways of producing and managing health.

To attend this lecture, please register online.


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