People

Dr Alison Swartz

Lecturer
School of Health and Social Care
Dr Alison Swartz

Profile

Biography

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist in global health who applies ethnographic and qualitative methods to explore mental health in mobile populations, vulnerable adolescents’ sexual partnerships and disease epidemics (infectious and non-communicable) in South Africa and beyond. I am currently a Lecturer in the team teaching the MSc in Global Public Health. I am also an Honorary Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Town, where I have worked since 2013 in the Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. I continue to conduct research, mentor and supervise students as part of a D43 NIH-funded grant at UCT. I have published articles and book chapters based on my research in global health in diverse and vulnerable community settings, particularly in South Africa. Recent publications have centred on sexual and reproductive health and HIV, social experiences of infectious diseases, including COVID and TB, digital tools for frontline health workers and childhood vaccination. My Doctorate in Public Health awarded by UCT in July 2017 drew on my interdisciplinary training in social anthropology and recent insights from public health research. I conducted a two-year ethnographic study with a small group of vulnerable young people in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, grappling with poverty, HIV infection, the care of elderly grandparents as well as infants and young children. I have also done research on community health workers and other frontline healthcare workers who play an integral role in bridging the gap between impoverished South African communities and health services. In these and ongoing research initiatives I have used a range of qualitative research methodologies, including body, social and conceptual mapping, photovoice, ranking and pile-sorting exercises, and digital platforms to collect data. This first-hand experience has and will continue to be an asset to my teaching and supervision.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Public Health University of Cape Town, (2017)

  • Master of Public Health University of Cape Town, (2012)

Appointments

University of Essex

  • Lecturer, Health and Social Care, University of Essex (3/10/2022 - present)

  • Lecturer, Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex (1/9/2021 - 31/12/2022)

Other academic

  • Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Town, University of Cape Town (1/1/2019 - present)

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Contexts of Refugee Experience (PA931)

  • Psychosocial Perspectives on Human Rights (PA932)

  • Dissertation - MA Refugee Care (PA982)

  • Dissertation (HS982)

  • Refugee Voices and Narratives (PA238)

  • Public Mental Health (HS958)

Publications

Publications (2)

Swartz, A., LeFevre, AE., Perera, S., Kinney, MV. and George, AS., Multiple pathways to scaling up and sustainability: An exploration of digital health solutions in South Africa

Nhemachena, T., Spath, C., Arendse, K., Lebelo, K., Keene, CM., Zokufa, N., Cassidy, T. and Swartz, A., (2022). Between empathy and anger: healthcare workers’ perspectives on patient disengagement from antiretroviral treatment in Khayelitsha, South Africa - a qualitative study

Journal articles (34)

Green, G., Swartz, A., Tembo, D., Cooper, D., George, A., Matzopoulos, R., Leal, AF., Cabral, C., Barbosa, R. and Knauth, D., (2022). A scoping review of how exposure to urban violence impacts youth access to sexual, reproductive and trauma health care in LMICs. Global Public Health, 1-18

Beeman, A., Bengtson, AM., Swartz, A., Colvin, CJ. and Lurie, MN., (2022). Cyclical Engagement in HIV Care: A Qualitative Study of Clinic Transfers to Re-enter HIV Care in Cape Town, South Africa. AIDS and Behavior. 26 (7), 2387-2396

McTigue, G., Swartz, A., Brittain, K., Rini, Z., Colvin, CJ., Harrison, A., Myer, L. and Pellowski, J., (2022). Contraceptive trajectories postpartum: A longitudinal qualitative study of women living with HIV in Cape Town, South Africa. Social Science & Medicine. 292, 114555-114555

Swartz, A., Maughan-Brown, B., Perera, S., Harrison, A., Kuo, C., Lurie, MN., Smith, P., Bekker, L-G. and Galárraga, O., (2022). “The Money, It’s OK but It’s not OK”: Patients’ and Providers’ Perceptions of the Acceptability of Cash Incentives for HIV Treatment Initiation in Cape Town, South Africa. AIDS and Behavior. 26 (1), 116-122

Hayer, S., DiClemente, K., Swartz, A., Chihota, Z., Colvin, CJ., Short, SE. and Harrison, A., (2022). Embodiment, agency, unmet need: Young women’s experiences in the use and non-use of contraception in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Global Public Health. 17 (6), 885-898

Cooper, S., Schmidt, BM., Swartz, A., Colvin, CJ., Leon, N., Sambala, EZ., Jaca, A., Gloeck, N., Pillay, N., Kredo, T. and Wiysonge, C., (2022). Factors that influence parental and caregiver acceptance of routine childhood vaccination: Summary of a qualitative evidence synthesis. South African Medical Journal. 112 (12), 890-891

Wouters, E., Stek, C., Swartz, A., Buyze, J., Schutz, C., Thienemann, F., Wilkinson, RJ., Meintjes, G., Lynen, L. and Nöstlinger, C., (2022). Prednisone for the prevention of tuberculosis-associated IRIS (randomized controlled trial): Impact on the health-related quality of life. Frontiers in Psychology. 13

Sherr, L., Mebrahtu, H., Mwaba, K., Nurova, N., Chetty, AN., Swartz, A., Cluver, L., Steventon Roberts, KJ. and Lachman, JM., (2022). ‘Tipping the balance' – an evaluation of COVID-19 parenting resources developed and adapted for child protection during global emergency responses. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. 10 (1), 676-694

Kallon, II., Swartz, A., Colvin, CJ., MacGregor, H., Zwama, G., Voce, AS., Grant, AD. and Kielmann, K., (2021). Organisational Culture and Mask-Wearing Practices for Tuberculosis Infection Prevention and Control among Health Care Workers in Primary Care Facilities in the Western Cape, South Africa: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18 (22), 12133-12133

Cooper, S., Schmidt, B-M., Sambala, EZ., Swartz, A., Colvin, CJ., Leon, N. and Wiysonge, CS., (2021). Factors that influence parents' and informal caregivers' views and practices regarding routine childhood vaccination: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2021 (10), CD013265-

Davids, EL., Zembe, Y., de Vries, PJ., Mathews, C. and Swartz, A., (2021). Exploring condom use decision-making among adolescents: the synergistic role of affective and rational processes. BMC Public Health. 21 (1), 1894-

Deignan, C., Swartz, A., Cooper, S. and Colvin, CJ., (2021). Stakeholders’ Understandings of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Rapid Qualitative Systematic Review. Vaccines. 9 (5), 496-496

Colvin, CJ., Kallon, II., Swartz, A., MacGregor, H., Kielmann, K. and Grant, AD., (2021). ‘It has become everybody’s business and nobody’s business’: Policy actor perspectives on the implementation of TB infection prevention and control (IPC) policies in South African public sector primary care health facilities. Global Public Health. 16 (10), 1631-1644

Perera, S. and Swartz, A., (2021). “An Unchanging God in a Changing World”: Sexual Practice and Decision-Making among Christian Women in South Africa. Journal of Religion and Health. 60 (6), 4045-4060

Swartz, A., LeFevre, AE., Perera, S., Kinney, MV. and George, AS., (2021). Multiple pathways to scaling up and sustainability: an exploration of digital health solutions in South Africa. Globalization and Health. 17 (1), 77-

Trafford, Z., Jewett, S., Swartz, A., LeFevre, AE., Winch, PJ., Colvin, CJ., Barron, P. and Bamford, L., (2020). Reported infant feeding practices and contextual influences on breastfeeding: qualitative interviews with women registered to MomConnect in three South African provinces. International Breastfeeding Journal. 15 (1), 81-

Kielmann, K., Karat, AS., Zwama, G., Colvin, C., Swartz, A., Voce, AS., Yates, TA., MacGregor, H., McCreesh, N., Kallon, I., Vassall, A., Govender, I., Seeley, J. and Grant, AD., (2020). Tuberculosis infection prevention and control: why we need a whole systems approach. Infectious Diseases of Poverty. 9 (1), 56-

Colvin, CJ., van Pinxteren, M., Majola, M., Leon, N., Swartz, A., Mbokazi, N. and Lurie, M., (2020). Fostering a healthy public for men and HIV: a case study of the Movement for Change and Social Justice (MCSJ). Palgrave Communications. 6 (1)

Cooper, S., Schmidt, B-M., Sambala, EZ., Swartz, A., Colvin, CJ., Leon, N., Betsch, C. and Wiysonge, CS., (2019). Factors that influence parents' and informal caregivers' acceptance of routine childhood vaccination: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2019 (2)

Wainwright, M., Sicwebu, N., Colvin, CJ., Gong, E., Henderson, R. and Swartz, A., (2019). Exploring Community Residents’ Motivations for Interacting With American Field School Undergraduates in South Africa. Journal of Experiential Education. 42 (2), 171-184

Swartz, A., Colvin, C. and Harrison, A., (2018). The problem or the solution? Early fertility and parenthood in the transition to adulthood in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Reproductive Health Matters. 26 (54), 145-154

Swartz, A., Levine, S., Rother, H-A. and Langerman, F., (2018). Toxic layering through three disciplinary lenses: childhood poisoning and street pesticide use in Cape Town, South Africa. Medical Humanities. 44 (4), 247-252

Skeen, S., Prince, B., van Rooyen, H., Tomlinson, M., Swartz, A., Colvin, CJ., Cooper, D., Cluver, L., Davidovich, U., Harding, R., Spire, B., Catalan, J., Hedge, B. and Sherr, L., (2018). What will it really take to end the HIV epidemic?. AIDS Care. 30 (sup2), 1-4

Trafford, Z., Swartz, A. and Colvin, CJ., (2018). “Contract to Volunteer”: South African Community Health Worker Mobilization for Better Labor Protection. NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. 27 (4), 648-666

Wainwright, M., Colvin, CJ., Swartz, A. and Leon, N., (2016). Self-management of medical abortion: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Reproductive Health Matters. 24 (47), 155-167

Swartz, A., Colvin, C. and Harrison, A., (2016). The Cape Town boyfriend and the Joburg boyfriend: women’s sexual partnerships and social networks in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Social Dynamics. 42 (2), 237-252

COLVIN, CJ. and SWARTZ, A., (2015). Extension agents or agents of change?. Annals of Anthropological Practice. 39 (1), 29-41

Harrison, A., Colvin, CJ., Kuo, C., Swartz, A. and Lurie, M., (2015). Sustained High HIV Incidence in Young Women in Southern Africa: Social, Behavioral, and Structural Factors and Emerging Intervention Approaches. Current HIV/AIDS Reports. 12 (2), 207-215

Swartz, A. and Colvin, CJ., (2015). ‘It’s in our veins’: caring natures and material motivations of community health workers in contexts of economic marginalisation. Critical Public Health. 25 (2), 139-152

Kagee, A., Swartz, A. and Swartz, L., (2014). Theorising beyond the individual: Adherence to antiretroviral therapy in resource-constrained societies. Journal of Health Psychology. 19 (1), 103-109

Glenton, C., Colvin, C., Carlsen, B., Swartz, A., Lewin, S., Noyes, J. and Rashidian, A., (2013). Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of lay health worker programmes to improve access to maternal and child health: qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2013 (2)

Glenton, C., Colvin, CJ., Carlsen, B., Swartz, A., Lewin, S., Noyes, J. and Rashidian, A., (2013). Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of lay health worker programmes to improve access to maternal and child health: qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2013 (10), CD010414-

Swartz, A., (2013). Legacy, Legitimacy, and Possibility. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 27 (2), 139-154

Colvin, CJ., Smith, HJ., Swartz, A., Ahs, JW., de Heer, J., Opiyo, N., Kim, JC., Marraccini, T. and George, A., (2013). Understanding careseeking for child illness in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and conceptual framework based on qualitative research of household recognition and response to child diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. Social Science & Medicine. 86, 66-78

Contact

alison.swartz@essex.ac.uk
+44 (0) 1206 876376

Location:

5A.122, Colchester Campus