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I am an anthropologist with postdoctoral experience in health services research and social sciences. My main teaching and research interests are in qualitative/ethnographic research methods and medical anthropology. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
I teach on the MRes in Clinical Research at St George's (University of London) and on undergraduate/postgraduate degrees in Midwifery. I am module leader for Applied Research (MRes Clin Research), Principles of Research (2nd year Midwifery), and Social and Political Context of Birth 2 (2nd year Midwifery). I am also programme lead for the HEE (Health Education England) research internship and deputy-lead for the NIHR pre-doctoral bridging programmes. I have been supervising PhD students and Master students (mainly MRes in Clin Research and MSc in Global Health at St George's) researching different topics.
I mainly carried out fieldwork in Andean Bolivia and in the UK. In Bolivia, I looked at ethnomedical beliefs and access to different forms of health care according to religious affiliation/ethnicity. In the UK, I carried out ethnographic research on processes of decision-making in the NHS, both from the perspective of patients and healthcare professionals.
Senior Lecturer (Research) Medical Anthropologist
I teach on the MRes in Clinical Research at St George's (University of London) and on undergraduate/postgraduate degrees in Midwifery. I'm programme leader for the Health Education England (HEE) Research Internships and deputy-lead for the NIHR pre-doctoral bridging programmes.
-Applied Research (MRes Clin Research);
-Principles of Research (2nd year Midwifery);
-Social and Political Context of Birth 2 (2nd year Midwifery).
-Improving Practice through Research (3rd year Midwifery);
-Social and Political Context of Birth 1 (1st year Midwifery).
My work in Bolivia for my PhD (2009) in anthropology has focused on individual and collective definitions of 'the good life', exploring religious and medical pluralism among Aymara people. In the UK, I carried out research on processes of decision-making and patient-centred care in the NHS. Most recently, I have conducted critical ethnographic research on spiritual care in hospitals, examining how practices of prayer can be transgressive, affecting power relations and experiences of inclusion/exclusion. My research interests also include critical understandings of race and ethnicity, health inequalities and perspectives from critical medical anthropology.
Recent Research Grants
2019 - 2020 Using an experience-based co-design (EBCD) approach to inform student-driven changes to teaching and learning within the MRes in Clinical Research programme (IMBE Educational and Development Research Grant, PI, Collaborators: Dr Kirstie Coxon and Dr Mary Halter)
Drennan, Vari M, Calestani, Melania, Taylor, Francesca, Halter, Mary and Levenson, Ros (2020) Perceived impact on efficiency and safety of experienced American physician assistants / associates in acute hospital care in England : findings from a multi-site case organisational study. JRSM Open, 11(10), ISSN (online) 2054-2704
Taylor, Francesca, Drennan, Vari M, Halter, Mary and Calestani, Melania (2020) Integration and retention of American physician assistants/associates working in English hospitals : a qualitative study. Health Policy, 124(5), pp. 525-530. ISSN (print) 0168-8510
Calestani, Melania [Reviewer] (2019) Book Review of : 'The quest for the good life in precarious times : ethnographic perspectives in the domestic moral economy' edited by Chris Gregory and Jon Altman. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 20(1), pp. 105-107. ISSN (print) 1444-2213
Jax, Kurt, Calestani, Melania, Chan, Kai M.A., Eser, Uta, Keune, Hans, Muraca, Barbara, O'Brien, Liz, Potthast, Thomas, Voget-Kleschin, Lieske and Wittmer, Heidi (2018) Caring for nature matters : a relational approach for understanding nature's contributions to human well-being. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 35, pp. 22-29. ISSN (print) 1877-3435
Drennan, Vari, Ross, Fiona, Calestani, Melania, Saunders, Mary and West, Peter (2018) Learning from an early pilot of the Dutch Buurtzorg model of district nursing in England. Primary Health Care, 28(6), pp. 23-25. ISSN (print) 0264-5033
Pruthi, Rishi, Tonkin-Crine, Sarah, Calestani, Melania, Leydon, Geraldine, Eyles, Caroline, Oniscu, Gabriel C., Tomson, Charles, Bradley, Andrew, Forsythe, John L., Bradley, Clare, Cairns, John, Dudley, Christopher, Watson, Christopher, Draper, Heather, Johnson, Rachel, Metcalfe, Wendy, Fogarty, Damian, Ravanan, Rommel and Roderick, Paul J. (2018) Variation in practice patterns for listing patients for renal transplantation in the United Kingdom : a national survey. Transplantation, 102(6), pp. 961-968. ISSN (print) 0041-1337
Drennan, Vari M, Calestani, Melania, Ross, Fiona, Saunders, Mary and West, Peter (2018) Tackling the workforce crisis in district nursing : can the Dutch Buurtzorg model offer a solution and a better patient experience? A mixed methods case study. BMJ Open, 8(6), e021931. ISSN (online) 2044-6055
Tonkin-Crine, Sarah, Pruthi, Rishi, Taylor, Dominic M., Leydon, Geraldine M., Calestani, Melania, Oniscu, Gabriel C., Bradley, J. Andrew, Tomson, Charles R., Bradley, Claire, Dudley, Christopher, Watson, Christopher J.E., Draper, Heather, Johnson, Rachel J., Metcalfe, Wendy, Fogarty, Damian G., Ravanan, Rommel and Roderick, Paul (2018) Assessing consensus between UK renal clinicians on listing for kidney transplantation : a modified Delphi Study. Transplantation Direct, 4(5), e343. ISSN (online) 2373-8731
Calestani, Melania [Reviewer] (2017) Book Review of: 'Gender, globalisation, and health in a Latin America context' by Jasmine Gideon. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 36(2), pp. 266-267. ISSN (print) 0261-3050
Gregson, Nicky, Crang, Mike, Botticello, Julie, Calestani, Melania and Krzywoszynska, Anna (2016) Doing the 'dirty work' of the green economy: resource recovery and migrant labour in the EU. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(4), pp. 541-555. ISSN (print) 0969-7764
Artaraz, Kepa and Calestani, Melania (2015) Suma qamana in Bolivia: indigenous understandings of well-being and their contribution to a post-neoliberal paradigm. Latin American Perspectives, 42(5), pp. 216-233. ISSN (print) 0094-582X
Calestani, Melania, Tonkin-Crine, Sarah, Pruthi, Rishi, Leydon, Geraldine, Ravanan, Rommel, Bradley, J. Andrew, Tomson, Charles R., Forsythe, John L., Oniscu, Gabriel C., Bradley, Clare, Cairns, John, Dudley, Christopher, Watson, Christopher, Draper, Heather, Johnson, Rachel J., Metcalfe, Wendy, Fogarty, Damian G. and Roderick, Paul (2014) Patient attitudes towards kidney transplant listing : qualitative findings from the ATTOM study. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 29(11), pp. 2144-2150. ISSN (print) 0931-0509
Calestani, Melania (2013) Book Review: Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia - edited by Pearce, Adrian J. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 32(4), pp. 512-513. ISSN (print) 0261-3050
Artaraz, Kepa and Calestani, Melania (2013) Vivir bien, entre utopía y realidad [Living well, between utopia and reality]. Tabula Rasa, 18, pp. 105-123. ISSN (online) 1794-2489
Pope, Catherine, Halford, Susan, Turnbull, Joanne, Prichard, Jane S., Calestani, Melania and May, Carl (2013) Using computer decision support systems in NHS emergency and urgent care: ethnographic study using normalisation process theory. BMC Health Services Research, 13(111), pp. 1-13. ISSN (online) 1472-6963
Gregson, Nicky, Watkins, Helen and Calestani, Melania (2013) Political markets: recycling, economization and marketization. Economy and Society, 42(1), pp. 1-25. ISSN (print) 0308-5147
Calestani, Melania (2012) Being 'an authentic alteño': young people in a Bolivian Andean city. Journal of Youth Studies, 15(4), pp. 541-555. ISSN (print) 1367-6261
Gregson, Nicky, Watkins, Helen and Calestani, Melania (2010) Inextinguishable fibres: demolition and the vital materialism of asbestos. Environment and Planning A, 42(5), pp. 1065-1083. ISSN (print) 0308-518X
Calestani, Melania (2009) 'Suerte' (Luck): spirituality and well-being in El Alto, Bolivia. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 4(1), pp. 47-75. ISSN (print) 1871-2584
Calestani, Melania (2009) An anthropology of 'The Good Life' in the Bolivian Plateau. Social Indicators Research, 90(1), pp. 141-153. ISSN (print) 0303-8300
Calestani, Melania (2009) Book Review: Sian Lazar, El Alto, Rebel City: Self and Citizenship in Andean Bolivia. London: Duke University Press, 2008. Critique of Anthropology, 29(4), pp. 471-472. ISSN (print) 0308-275X
Calestani, Melania (2009) Book review: Alberto Corsín Jiménez (ed.), Culture and Well-being: Anthropological Approaches to Freedom and Political Ethics. London: Pluto Press, 2008. Critique of Anthropology, 29(1), pp. 125-126. ISSN (print) 0308-275X
Reimer-Kirkham, Sheryl, Sharma, Sonya, Brown, Rachel and Calestani, Melania (2020) Prayer as transgression? The social relations of prayer in healthcare settings. Montreal, Quebec : McGill-Queen's University Press. 240p. (Advancing Studies in Religion, 9) ISBN 9780228001645
Madge, Nicola, Hemming, Peter J., Stenson, Kevin, Allum, Nick [Contributor], Calestani, Melania [Contributor], Goodman, Anthony [Contributor], King, Katherine [Contributor], Kingston, Sarah [Contributor] and Webster, Colin [Contributor] (2013) Youth on religion : the development, negotiation and impact of faith and non-faith identity. London, U.K. : Routledge. 240p. ISBN 9780415696708
Calestani, Melania (2013) An anthropological journey into well-being: insights from Bolivia. Dordrecht, Netherlands : Springer Netherlands. 96p. (SpringerBriefs in Well-Being and Quality of Life Research) ISSN (print) 2211-7644 ISBN 9789400756687
Calestani, Melania and Montesi, Laura (2020) The ethno-racial basis of chronic diseases : rethinking race and ethnicity from a critical epidemiological perspective. In: Gamlin, Jennie , Gibbon, Sahra , Sesia, Paola and Berrio, Lina, (eds.) Critical medical anthropology : perspectives in and from Latin America. London, U.K. : UCL Press. pp. 170-192. (Embodying inequalities : perspectives from medical anthropology) ISBN 9781787355828
Calestani, Melania (2018) Mario Lodi’s educational approach : is this relevant for anthropology in the twenty-first century? In: Paganopoulos, Michelangelo, (ed.) In-between fiction and non-fiction: reflections on the poetics of ethnography in literature and film. Newcastle, U.K. : Cambridge Scholars. pp. 130-143. ISBN 9781527508330
Calestani, Melania (2014) Spirituality, luck and well-being. In: Michalos, Alex C., (ed.) Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research. Dordrecht, Netherlands : Springer Reference. pp. 6285-6289. ISBN 9789400707528
Calestani, Melania (2012) Wellbeing in El Alto, Bolivia. In: Atkinson, Sarah , Fuller, Sarah and Painter, Joe, (eds.) Wellbeing and place. Farnham, U.K. : Ashgate. pp. 171-183. ISSN (print) 9781409420606
Calestani, Melania, White, Nereda, Hendricks, Auntie Joan and Scemons, Donna (2012) Religions of native peoples and nursing. In: Fowler, Marsha D. , Reimer-Kirkham, Sheryl , Sawatzky, Richard and Johnston-Taylor, Elizabeth, (eds.) Religion, religious ethics, and nursing. New York, U.S.A. : Springer. pp. 267-294. ISBN 9780826106636
Drennan, VM, Calestani, M and Littlejohns, P (2017) South London Community Education Provider Networks : evaluation report. (Project Report) London, U.K. : Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University and St George's, University of London. 12 p. ISBN 9780995741300 (Unpublished)
Pope, Catherine, Turnbull, Joanne, Halford, Susan, Prichard, Jane, Calestani, Melania, Salisbury, Chris, May, Carl, Barrett, Christine and Lattimer, Valerie (2011) Ethnography and survey analysis of a computer decision support system in urgent out-of-hours, single point of access and emergency (999) care. (Project Report) London, U.K. : National Institute for Health Research. 188 p.
Calestani, Melania (2009) An anthropology of well-being: Local perspectives and cultural constructions in the Bolivian Altiplano. (PhD thesis), Goldsmiths College, University of London, .