A Date with Science: Health Systems Performance or Performing Health Systems? Anthropological contributions to health systems research
This seminar is a part of ITM's 'A Date with Science': a series of academic seminars that take place every last Thursday of the month, live in Antwerp followed by a drink and online.
3pm – 4pm: Academic seminar in aula Janssens (and online)
4pm – 5.30pm: Drink in Sint-Rochus garden at ITM
Speaker: Karina Kielmann
Title: Health Systems Performance or Performing Health Systems? Anthropological contributions to health systems research
Driven by questions of whether health systems around the world fulfill fundamental goals - e.g. accessibility, quality, safety – quantitative metrics are often put forward as key systems performance indicators. However, the evolving recognition that health systems are complex, dynamic, and driven by human actions and values shifts the focus from quantifying inputs and outputs to understanding and qualifying health systems processes, mechanisms, and levers for systems improvement in contexts of uncertainty and change. Through examples from my journey as an anthropologist working in HIV and TB care over the past 15 years, I will, in this talk, 1) advocate for an actor-oriented perspective that focuses on narrative, experience and performative praxis in health systems research and 2) outline implications of this perspective for a research agenda.
Karina Kielmann trained originally as a medical anthropologist (University of Sussex; McGill University) and obtained a doctorate in International Health (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) before joining the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2001. At LSHTM, she was involved for many years as a social science advisor on research programme consortia on strengthening TB and HIV care in India and Southern Africa. She moved to the Institute for Global Health and Development (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh) in 2011 and developed a research and teaching agenda focused on bringing social science theory and methodology more explicitly into the growing field of health systems research. Over the past decade, this agenda was manifest in her research projects, most of which examine the health systems and community interface with a view to strengthening accountability, quality, and responsiveness of care. In 2021, Karina joined ITM as Professor and Head of the Equity and Health unit. She currently leads projects that seek to understand and improve infection prevention and control, quality of care, patient pathways, health literacy and adherence to treatment in the context of TB and HIV care in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Mozambique. She has a particular interest in the health of migrants and other mobile populations as well as men, who until quite recently, have not explicitly featured on global health agendas. She believes strongly in the value of social science theory in thinking about and addressing health issues, and has tried, throughout her career, to bridge the divide and create dialogue between theoretical and applied researchers in global health.
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