Claire Somerville


executive director of the Gender Centre
Spoken languages
Areas of expertise
  • Global Health and Development
  • Risk and Non-Communicable Disease
  • Ethnography in Health Systems Research
  • Health, Ageing, Technology and Design Ethnography


Mardi | Tuesday 12:00-14:00



PhD, University of Cambridge
Dr Claire Somerville is Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies and also currently the executive director of the Gender Centre at the Graduate of Institute of International and Development Studies. An applied medical anthropologist with specialization in gender, Claire combines scholarly research in gender and health with practice-oriented knowledge that she contributes as expert to stakeholders in International Organizations, Human Rights, Non-Government Organizations and other international fora. At the Graduate Institute Claire heads the Environment, Resources and Sustainability Capstone track and has taught compulsory qualitative methods courses, provided classes in gender and health as well regularly engages with dialogues on gender internally and externally. 

Claire’s research is defined by interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral collaboration and previous research projects have sought to bridge academic research with industry partnerships (Intel Corporation) and clinical health sciences; NGOs and IOs with the intention of bringing academic insight and expertise to current global challenges and, vice versa, bring knowledge and data from global actors into the academic frame. 

Current research include: LGBTI health in Great lakes; NCDs and NTDs in Mozambique, Nepal and Peru; gender language in international texts and negotiations; gender, data and technology; sex, gender and masculinities. 

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 1stclass BA in  Social Anthropology and Development at the University of Sussex.



  • Mixed methods and cross-disciplinary methodological frameworks- design and implementation
  • Applied anthropology in global business, health and technology
  • Industry-NGO-Academic partnerships



  • Beran, D.; Chappuis, F.; Damasceno, A.; Jha, N; Pesantes, M.A.; Singh, S.B.; Somerville, C.; Suggs, L.S.; Miranda, J.J. High-quality health systems: time for a revolution in research and research funding. The Lancet Global Health, Volume 7, Issue 3, e303 – e304.

  • Aya Pastrana, N., C. Somerville, L. S. Suggs. 2018. Gender Responsiveness of Social Marketing Interventions. In Influencing Behavior for Social Good. Proceedings of World Social Marketing Conference. Washington D.C. : World Social Marketing Conference.

  • Beran, D., M. Lazo-Porras, M. K. Cardenas, F. Chappuis, A. Damasceno, N. Jha, T. Madede, S. Lachat, S. Perez Leon, N. Aya Pastrana, M. A. Pesantes, S. Bahadur Singh, S. Sharma, C. Somerville, L. S.Suggs and J. J.Miranda. 2018. Moving from formative research to co-creation of interventions: insights from a community health system project in Mozambique, Nepal and Peru. BMJ Global Health, 3(6), e001183.

  • Heller O. and C. Somerville. 2018. No business as usual, the need of a holistic approach in addressing NCDs. Medicus Mundi Shweiz Bulletin. N°145.

  • Beran, D., Chappuis, F., Cattacin, S., Damasceno, A., Jha, N., Somerville, C., Suggs, L.S., Miranda, J. J., for the COHESION Project (2016, July 15). The need to focus on primary health care for chronic diseases. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

  • Somerville, C. et al 2019   The Process Of Global Health Prioritization: The Case Of Non-Communicable Diseases,  Health Policy and Practice 

  • Somerville C1, Marteau TM2, Kinmonth AL2, Cohn S3.Public attitudes towards pricing policies to change health-related behaviours: a UK focus group study. The Eur Journal Public Health. 2015 Dec;25(6):

  • Somerville C. 2015 Home Telehealth: Industry enthusiasm, health system resistance and community expectations. In Aging and the Digital Life Course, Eds. Garattini C & D Prendergast

  • Prendergast D, Somerville C, Wherton J. 2011 Connecting Communities: The role of design ethnography in   developing social care technologies for isolated older adults. A. Sixsmith (ed.) Handbook on Ambient Assisted Living for Healthcare, Well-being and Rehabilitation. Amsterdam, IOS Press 

  • Jones M, Somerville C, Feder G, Foster G 2010 Patients’ descriptions of angina symptoms: a qualitative study. Journal of Royal College of General Practice

  • Somerville C, Featherstone K, Hemmingway H, Feder G. April 2008 From undifferentiated chest pain to angina diagnosis: an ethnographic study. Social Science & Medicine Volume 66, Issue 7, Pages 1497-1508

  • Hemingway H, Feder G, Junghans C, Somerville C, Featherstone  K. 2006. Evaluation of appropriateness methods to define and improve access across primary, secondary and tertiary care among people with angina.  Report to the National Co-ordinating Centre for NHS Service Delivery and Organisation R&D (NCCSDO) 

  • Somerville C, 2004 Anthropology in Medicine: Defining boundaries and responsibilities in collaborative research, Anthropology in Action, Vol 11 (1).

  • Somerville C, 2002 Anthropological Methods, (August 1st), British Medical Journal: 325


Recent Contributions 


  • •Somerville served as expert  EUR/RC68/12 WHO’s Strategy on the health and well-being of men in the WHO European Region; served as an expert on WHO’s report The health and well-being of men in the WHO European Region: better health through a gender approach.
  • Somerville was expert contributor and reviewer on ITU EQUALS Report Taking stock: Data and evidence on gender equality in digital access, skills and leadership Preliminary findings of a review by the EQUALS Research Group.
  • Somerville was invited speaker during Women Influence Community Forum on event on Being a professional.
  • Somerville was panellist during World Trade Organization’s International Women’s Day event on “Delivering Opportunities For Women”
  • Somerville: invited speaker during panel discussion on “Including Men and Boys with Disabilities in Afghanistan”, Gender and Mine Action Programme, URL: 
  • Somerville: Moderator/ speaker Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s “Workshop on the role of parliamentarians in ensuring implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)”
  • Somerville: speaker during Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs workshop on “Women and Gender in Global Affairs”. 
  • On 3 October and 22 November, Somerville served as an expert on gender during two Meetings of Experts on Health Labour Market Analysis (HLMA), a joint initiative of ILO and WHO.
  • On 20-21 November 2018, Somerville served as a gender expert during WHO’s 2-day “Expert group meeting: Gender and Intersectionality in Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty” at WHO 
  • November 2018: Somerville: Moderator PricewaterhouseCoopers on “Gender Equality in the Workplace”



  • GAVI Gender Policy: an external evaluation 2012
  • Mentoring as capacity building: applicability of a mentoring approach to enhance the effective participation of transition economies in Codex Alimentarius 2012
  • UNCARES: External Evaluation for UNAIDS, ICF Macro 2011
  • Intel Corp White Paper “Telehealth and Mobile Health in Europe Country Studies” 2010
  • Intel Corp White Paper “Competitor Mapping in European Telehealth Clinical Trials” 2009
  • Intel Corp Feasibility Report “Usability study of prototype technology for in-home patient monitoring: Intel Health Guide” 2009                                
  • WHO working paper “Mixed-Method Approaches to Reported Health Outcomes” 2008