Heidi Fjeld holds a doctoral degree in social anthropologist and is an associate professor in medical anthropology at Helsam. Her studies of social organization in farming communities in Tibet led her to an interest in how health and medical practices are closely linked to social, cultural, economic and political aspects of people's lives. Central to her professional interests is, on the one hand, the vast cultural variation in how people perceive bodies' constitution, the causes of diseases, good/bad health and relevant treatments, and on the other hand, how these understandings form – and are formed – by social and religious life. Her research interests are divided into three main tracks: 1) health and medicine in the Himalayas (Tibet and Nepal), 2) antibiotic trajectories and antimicrobial resistance in the global south and 3) health and access to services for transmigrants, i.e. people who move temporarily between different places. Within Himalayan anthropology, she works on topics related to the organization of social life, including kinship, marriage, social rank and hierarchies, as well as Tibetan medicine, cosmology and Buddhism. New projects explores perceptions of health and healing, especially in reproductive life, in high mountain areas in the Himalayas, where biomedical health services are limited. Currently, Fjeld leads the RCN funded project From Asia to Africa: Antibiotic trajectory across the Indian Ocean (2020-2025). This project brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, combining methods and perspectives from the humanities, social sciences and medicine to investigate how active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and generic antibiotics are produced, regulated and exported from China and India to Africa, and particularly Tanzania. Fjeld is particularly interested in anthropological perpectives on pharmaceuticals on the one hand, and China as a global health actor, on the other hand.
Fjeld coordinates Group for Engaged Community Medicine, an interdisciplinary group that develops action-research projects in close collaboration between researchers, users and service providers. The group's main focus is on migration, and in particular health and access to health services for transmigrants in Oslo. Moreover, she is the chair of MAH (Medical anthropology and Medical History)–seminar series.
Regional expertise: Tibet, Nepal, Himalaya, China, Norway
- INTHE4014: Fundamentals of Community Health Part II
- INTHE4113: Introduction to Medical Anthropology
- INTHE4016: Qualitative methodology
- HES9280: Medical Anthropology
- MF9295: Global Health
- MED3002: Kvalitative metoder i helseforskning
Fjeld holds a doctoral degree from the Department of Social Anthropology (2007) with the dissertation 'The Rise of the Polyandrous House: Marriage, Kinship and Social Mobility in Rural Tsang, Tibet.' From 2007-2012 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher and senior researcher at the Section for Medical Anthropology and Medical History at the Institute for Health and Society (UiO), where she worked with Tibetan medicine, the ongoing health reforms in China, HIV and reproduction in Malawi, and biotechnology in Norway. She was also a visiting researcher at the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Representative of tenured faculty, advisory board, Helsam
- Deputy leader, board of Center for Development and the Environment