Dr Anna Cronin De Chavez

Dr Anna Cronin De Chavez


I am an experienced anthropologist with substantial qualitative research and public health practice experience. I have a strong interest in older people and care homes; children and families living with inequalities; poverty; poor health, disability, nature and energy. I am experienced with qualitative methods of structured and semi-structured interviews, focus groups, telephone interviews, photovoice, draw and write, ethnography and auto-ethnography. I am currently working as an ethnographer on the StaRQ study - Staffing and its relationship to care home staffing and quality of care in care homes with Professor Karen Spilsbury and the StaRQ team. Before coming to the University of Leeds I worked with Born in Bradford’s evaluation of the Better Start Bradford child and maternal health programme. I have an interest in developing alternative research methods for groups such as older people with dementia and very young children, for whom traditional research methods of interviews and surveys are not always accessible or appropriate. Before working with Born in Bradford I spent 5 years at Sheffield Hallam University as a research fellow on several projects in the field of temperature and health. I conducted my doctoral research at Durham University’s Department of Anthropology looking at clinical evidence and cultural beliefs around safe thermal care for infants. Previous to this I worked as a senior public health specialist in Leeds advising on policies and interventions to prevent accidents for children and older people. I have also spent six years living and working in Guatemala and Panama.  As a serving member of Save the Children’s international research and evaluation committee (REEC) I advise Save the Children on ethical policies and procedures and quality for their projects worldwide.


  • Research Fellow

Research interests

I have substantial experience managing and conducting qualitative research and evaluation projects using methods that include structured and unstructured interviews; focus groups; telephone interviews; ethnography; auto-ethnography; participatory methods and regularly use Refworks; Endnote; Inspiration; Microsoft Word; Powerpoint; NVivo and Excel. My involvement in multiple projects has been from funding proposal through to writing protocols; setting up advisory groups; producing project paperwork; ethical approval; recruitment; data collection; data analysis; writing up and dissemination. I am also on Save the Children’s global Research, Ethics and Evaluation Committee providing guidance for Save the Children’s research policies and procedures and reviewing proposals.

I am currently working at the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development on the RESPONSE project looking at responsiveness in health care systems in Vietnam and Ghana and on the AMIPS project on a review of medicine pricing policies in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on Ghana. 

I previously worked as an ethnographer on the StaRQ study - Staffing and its relationship to care home staffing and quality of care in care homes. As well as conducting a literature review on the use of ethnographic methods in care home research I conducted participant observation and interviews with care home staff, residents and relatives in care homes leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before coming to the University of Leeds I worked with Born in Bradford’s evaluation of the Better Start Bradford child and maternal health programme. Being involved in a large evaluation of the Big Lottery funded Better Start Bradford programme to improve the health, social and emotional development and communication of 0-3 year olds. My work focused specifically on how young families’ access to local green spaces. I conducted a range of studies on this topic, including an in-depth qualitative study of barriers and enablers of green space use for young families; a partnership with Harvard University to evaluate their App for participatory design for improving green spaces and a community readiness approach to local air quality and health issues. A major part of my time was spent conducting an ethnographic study to evaluate the pilot of a forest school intervention for 3 years olds in urban nursery schools. This study was not only a useful demonstration of a novel research method with very young children, but contributed towards changes to the programme for subsequent years by contributing the experience of the 3-year-olds, their parents, and nursery staff in receipt of the intervention. As an experienced qualitative researcher in a large epidemiological project, I have led qualitative methods support, including training, to service providers; junior research staff and supported qualitative research conducted by several masters, PhD students and interns and remain keen to share the tools of qualitative research where there is an interest.

One of my major research interests is that of temperature and health and energy poverty. After completing my PhD entitled Cultural beliefs and thermal care of infants: protecting South Asian and white British infants in Bradford from heat and cold, where I looked at cross cultural beliefs around protecting infants from heat and cold, as well as clinical evidence, I spent 5 years working on several fuel poverty projects at Sheffield Hallam University.   These included the Warm Well Families project which looked at the impacts of fuel poverty on families where there is a child with asthma.   . This research was disseminated to the community through work with a poet and a social documentary researcher in a chapbook (https://tinyurl.com/ycdlcnqg) and resources for professionals (https://winterwarmthengland.co.uk/warmwellfamilies.html). I was also PI on the Chesshire Lehmann funded project Keeping Warm with Sickle Cell disease. This looked at the potentially life threatening outcomes people with sickle cell disease may experience if exposed to cool environments, particularly those experiencing fuel poverty.

I have a particular experience conducting research with ethnic minorities in the UK and indigenous communities in Panama and Guatemala. Having had the benefit of conducting in-depth interviews and ethnographic research with families in precarious and challenging circumstances in the UK and in Central America I have a particular insight into and appreciation of the struggles, injustices and inequalities with which some families live. I am committed to using evidence to improving the lives of the most vulnerable, in particular, children and older people.


  • Ph.D. Medical and biological anthropology. University of Durham. 2012
  • M.Sc. Health Education and Health Promotion. University of Edinburgh 2000
  • M.A. (Hons) Social anthropology. University of Edinburgh 1993

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • International health research