Center for Global Health

Person conducting an interview new waterProjects

Our signature projects highlight our approach to global health, advancing new knowledge through research, creating opportunities for global health students to learn by doing, and reaching out to support community partners.

Global Ethnohydrology Study
The Global Ethnohydrology Study is a transdisciplinary multi-year, multi-site program of research that engages water scarcity and poor water quality as major threats to human health and well-being. Using cross-cultural analysis, this study examines local water knowledge and management across sites that represent a diverse range of climates and cultures. Students can participate in the GES through joining the Culture, Health, and Environment Laboratory.

Contact: Amber Wutich

Stigma in Global Health
There is growing evidence that much Global Health practice – however well-intentioned --  may actually worsen stigma faced within communities, especially for those already living in poverty or otherwise socially or economically vulnerable. We are developing new guidelines for practitioners on how to reduce and address stigma in global health. These recommendations are based on long-term social research in a variety of sites across the globe. Read the CGH blog on the role of stigma in derailing global health.

Contact: Alexandra Brewis Slade

Measuring Bodies Meaningfully
We are rethinking how stunting (as a reflection of undernutrition) is measured and tracked globally. This research is demonstrating that our standard methods for estimating Body Mass Index (BMI) severely under-estimate obesity risk in many parts of the world. Innovating data-driven adjustments to our weight-classification methods are the solution, and will be a focus of work over the next phase of the project.

Contact: Daniel Hruschka

New Models of Illness and Healing
Across societies, people think in very different ways about why we get sick, and the best ways to respond. This massively complicates the imposition of standard public health, and any good intervention will need to address this. But it also highlights the key point that there may be many health solutions being developed in lower income countries that are innovative and different, and could have broader value and utility. With research spanning populations in North and Central America—from community health workers in Highland Guatemala, to curers in Pichátaro, Mexico, to medical providers in Nashville, USA—this collaborative research uses cutting-edge cultural methods to understand how we can think more broadly about how we heal. Students can engage in this project through Maupin’s medical anthropology field school in Guatemala.

Contact: Jonathan Maupin

Body Talk in Cross-Cultural Context
Body issues trigger depression, eating disorders and many other health issues. Traditionally viewed as a problem of young, Western women's body issues are globalizing and starting to impact men as well. Leveraging linguistic methods, this project explores how negative “body talk”—self-deprecating discussions of one’s own body size, age or health—can both undermine and build wellbeing around the globe. Work is currently being conducted in Japan, Korea, Samoa, Paraguay and the southeastern US. Closer to home, in partnership with psychologist Marisol Perez’s Body Project, the research is also focusing in on the experiences of young women in the U.S. and Mexico at risk of eating disorder, including on the ASU campus.

Contact: Cindi SturtzSreetharan

Food Insecurity in a Globalizing World
Global climate change, market transitions, and other forms cultural change have profoundly reshaped livelihoods around the world. Many groups are dealing with changes in food sources and supplies tied to this, with significant health impacts. Applying ethnographic and social network methods with diverse groups – from African pastoralists to Arctic hunters – we are tracking how food insecurity and well-being intersect, and how food sharing may be one way to respond effectively. We are also testing new basic tools for better estimating food and water insecurity in low-resource settings.

Contact: Shauna BurnSilver

The Global Impact Collaboratory
The focus of the Global Impact Collaboratory is to figure out how we know when international development projects are actually “working” from the perspectives of the people on the ground they are meant to be helping.

Contact: Roseanne Schuster

Small World/Big Bodies
Small World/Big Bodies is a multi-year and multi-sited project tackling the complex question of how and why stigmatizing attitudes toward overweight and obese bodies are becoming more negative and spreading—even as obesity becomes more common.

Contact: Alexandra Brewis Slade

Citizen Social Science for Global Health
Citizen social scientists are local community members who are partners in our community-based projects examining the social dimensions of health. They help finalize project designs, collect data, and return study findings to the community. They make our global health research better, stronger, and more relevant. By working with our ASU students, citizen scientists are also helping to train emerging researchers.

Contact: Cindi SturtzSreetharan

Human Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE)
The CGH is involved as a key partner in the HWISE Research Coordination Network (RCN), bringing together scholars and practitioners from across the globe to create sustainable and socially equitable water policy and interventions through the robust evaluation of key water security problems. The collaboration gives explicit attention to the causes and outcomes of household water insecurity and translates research outcomes into meaningful and useful products for practitioners, communities, and decision-makers. The CGH is involved in studying two aspects of water insecurity as part of this initiative: how water insecurity affects mental health, and how systems of local water sharing affects the struggles of households to get enough safe water.

Contact: Amber Wutich