PhD, University of Cambridge
Dr Claire Somerville is currently the executive director of the Gender Centre at the Graduate of Institute of International and Development Studies. An applied medical anthropologist by training she continues to pursue research in global health, systems innovation and technology; teach various courses and supervise students in the Development & International Studies MA programmes including applied research and qualitative methods and also delivers modules in executive education courses. In her role at the Gender Centre she leads on policy, outreach and strategy to advance the centre’s mission. Claire is also active in promoting women leaders in global health.
Claire conducted her PhD research in the late 1990s on a pilot programme to prevent type-two diabetes among high-risk groups- by virtue of family history - back when diabetes was known primarily as a chronic disease of the developed world. Returning to this early research with a gender stance, Claire is now co-investigator on a large Swiss funded six-year study addressing the double burden of disease in Mozambique, Peru and Nepal (www.cohesion-project/info). The multi-method study is developing simple system level innovations to meet the challenges of the epidemiological transition with the onset of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in contexts also burdened with neglected tropical diseases (NPT). Claire’s particular focus is the gendered dimensions of NCDs & NTPs and global health policy.
Claire’s research is defined by interdisciplinary collaboration and previous research projects have sought to bridge academic research with industry partnerships (Intel corporation) and clinical health sciences. Claire worked at the Technology Research for Independent Living centre (TRIL) at Trinity College Dublin (where she remains as an external PhD examiner) as senior social scientist. In this role she led a multidisciplinary team to ideate, develop and prototype communication technologies to offset the detrimental consequences of social isolation in ageing populations. Previous to this she was post-doctoral research fellow at Queen Mary’s College University of London where she worked on a Randomized Control Trial-nested qualitative study of clinical decision making among cardiologists- again drawing on the use of technologies for clinical decision-making.
High impact publications in 2015 include results from research on the fiscal determinants of health with colleagues from University of Cambridge and book chapters on digital aging with global colleagues from academic and private sector. She peer reviews for Journal of Family Practice; Journal of American Board of Family Medicine; Qualitative Health Research.
Her recent online commentaries are on gender equality.
Dr Somerville obtained her PhD in 2002 from St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and previously studied Medical Anthropology as an MA at the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London, and attained 1st class BA in Social Anthropology and Development at the University of Sussex.