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Dr Mei Trueba

Mei Trueba Profile Photo

Dr Mei Trueba (BA, BSc, MA, MSc, PhD)

Senior Lecturer in International Development and Global Health
T: +44 (0)1273 872788
Location: Ground Floor, BSMS Medical Research Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9PX

Areas of expertise: International development; socio-political and medical anthropology; anthropology of work; qualitative research; ethnography; grounded research.

Research areas: Occupational Health and Safety (OHS); forced labour; working conditions; precarious employment; social protection; corporate social responsibility; social policy; health policy; health risk perceptions and behaviours; health risk management; diseases of poverty and marginalisation; Skin NTDs.

Geographic Expertise: Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Perú, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Spain, France, England, Catalonia.

Other relevant positions (selected): 

  • 2019-pesent: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA);
  • 2021- present: School Research Ethics Officer;
  • 2020- present: Scientific advisor for the ECLIPSE programme (Empowering people with Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: Intervention Programme to improve patient journey and reduce Stigma via community Education, Keele University (UK);
  • 2017-present: Guest editor for the Latin American Perspectives journal.


Mei Trueba is an applied anthropologist with academic and professional backgrounds in public health, occupational health and safety, and development studies. She is a Lecturer in International Development and Global Health and holds a BSc in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Catalonia), a MSc in Comparative and Cross-Cultural Research Methods from the University of Sussex, and a DPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS, University of Sussex). Mei also holds an MSc in Occupational Health and Safety and a BSc in Public Health.

Her research has been mainly situated in Latin America. Between 2010 and 2012, Mei led an action-research project aimed at improving the occupational health and safety of Bolivian cooperative miners. This project was financed by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and was developed in collaboration with the local NGO CEPROMIN and the Bolivian Network of Women and Mining. Since then, Mei has participated and led various research projects, mainly focusing on the labour rights and working conditions of workers at the end of supply chains, and on supporting Neglected Tropical Diseases control through structural change.

In 2014 she convened the MSc in Global Health at the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development (University of Leeds), and later at the BSMS Centre for Global Health. Prior to this she worked as Lecturer in Global Social Policy at the School of Applied Social Sciences of the University of Brighton, as researcher at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and as programme evaluator and livelihood adviser in Chile. In Chile, Mei conducted a participative evaluation of a development programme focused on the labour rights of street children.


Mei's research is predominantly concerned with the political economies of health and ill-health and she uses grounded research to inform health policy and practice. Her main areas of research are international development, labour studies and medical anthropology; in particular, Occupational Health and Safety in Low-and Middle-Income settings. Alongside this, Mei's research interests also include the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) through action on socio-political and economic structures, the understanding of health risk behaviours and their determinants, and the complex relationship between globalisation and health.

Research Grants obtained include:

  • 2021-2022 (Principal Investigator). Managing Mental Health Stigma in the Workplace: What works? Financed by the Wellcome Trust.

  • 2020-2021 (Co-Investigator): Labour Recruitment and Working Conditions in the Malaysian Medical Gloves Sector during the COVID-19 Crisis. Funded by the Modern Slavery Policy & Evidence Centre and Arts & Humanities Research Council. More information available here >

  • 2018-2020 (Principal Investigator). Qualitative evaluation of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis control strategies in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Funded by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the UNDP’s Special Programme for Research in Tropical Diseases (TDR), In collaboration with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and the Guatemalan Ministry of Health and Social Assistance. Read Policy Brief here >


Course leadership

  •  Global Health MSc - Course Director (2014-2019)

Module Leadership

  • Global Health Principles (2014-2022)
  • Research Practice in Global Contexts (2017-2019)
  • Research Methods (2015-2019)
  • Global Health - Research Project (2014-2019)
  • Global Social Policy (2013-2015)
  • Key Issues in International Health (2014-15)
  • Action research in international health (2014-15)

Mei also teaches and supervises students in various modules across campus (main topics: anthropology, development studies, global health, labour studies).

PhD Supervision:   

  • 2018-2022. Mycetoma and its management in Sudan, a critical exploration
  • 2020-2023. Everyday life with scabies in Ethiopia, anthropological insights of a persistent neglected disease

Mei is interested in supervising qualitative research in the fields of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), labour studies, development studies, and socio-cultural and medical anthropology. She is particularly interested in the following topics: Occupational Health and Safety, health risk behaviours and perceptions, diseases of poverty and marginalisation, forced labour, precarious employment, corporate social responsibility, social protection, working conditions and supply chains. Her particular interest is on using grounded research to inform policy and practice. People interested in any of these topics and research approach are encouraged to get in touch to discuss thesis supervision.

Selected publications

Hughes, Alex, Brown, James A, Trueba, Mei, Trautrims, Alexander, Bostock, Ben, Day, Emily, Hurst, Rosey and Bhutta, Mahmood F (2022) Global value chains for medical gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic: confronting forced labour through public procurement and crisis. Global Networks. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1470-2266

Trueba, Mei L (2022) Risk negotiations in the mines of Potosí: implications for rethinking current Health and Safety approaches. In: Świtek, Beata, Abramson, Allen and Swee, Hannah (eds.) Extraordinary risks, ordinary lives: logics of precariousness in everyday contexts. Critical studies in risk and uncertainty. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 63-90. ISBN 9783030839611

Mendizabal-Cabrera, Renata, Pérez, Isabel, Becerril Montekio, Victor, Pérez, Freddy, Durán, Erick and Trueba, Mei L (2021) Cutaneous leishmaniasis control in Alta Verapaz (northern Guatemala): evaluating current efforts through stakeholders’ experiences. Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 10 (a61). pp. 1-12. ISSN 2049-9957

Bhutta, Mahmood, Bostock, Ben, Brown, James, Day, Emily, Hughes, Alex, Hurst, Rosey, Trautrims, Alexander and Trueba, Mei (2021) Forced labour in the Malaysian medical gloves supply chain before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence, scale and solutions. Project Report. Newcastle University, Newcastle.

Bhutta, Mahmood, Bostock, Ben, Brown, James, Day, Emily, Hughes, Alex, Hurst, Rosey, Trautrims, Alexander and Trueba, Mei (2021) Forced labour in the Malaysian medical gloves supply chain during the Covid-19 pandemic: research summary. Other. Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre.

Trueba, Mei L, Bhutta, Mahmood F and Shahvisi, Arianne (2020) Instruments of health and harm: how the procurement of healthcare goods contributes to global health inequality. Journal of Medical Ethics. ISSN 0306-6800

Artaraz, Kepa, Calestani, Melania and Trueba, Mei, eds. (2021) Vivir bien/Buen vivir and post-neoliberal development paths in Latin America: scope, strategies, and the realities of implementation. Latin American Perspectives, 48 (3). ISSN 0094-582X

Pérez, Isabel, Durán, Erick, Pérez, Freddy, Trueba, Mei L and Mendizábal-Cabrera, Renata (2020) Strengthening cutaneous leishmaniasis control in Guatemala: policy recommendations. PAHO/WHO & TDR.

Artaraz, Kepa, Calestani, Melania and Trueba, Mei L (2021) Introduction: Vivir bien/Buen vivir and post-neoliberall development paths in Latin America: scope, strategies, and the realities of implementation. Latin American Perspectives, 48 (3). pp. 4-16. ISSN 0094-582X

Pérez, Isabel, Durán, Erick, Pérez, Freddy, Trueba, Mei L and Mendizábal-Cabrera, Renata (2020) Strengthening cutaneous leishmaniasis control in Guatemala: policy recommendations. PAHO/WHO & TDR

Tsegay, Girmay, Deribe, Kebede, Deyessa, Negussie, Addissie, Adamu, Davey, Gail, Cooper, Maxwell and Trueba, Mei (2018) 'I should not feed such a weak woman'. Intimate partner violence among women living with podoconiosis: A qualitative study in northern Ethiopia. PLoS ONE, 13 (12). pp. 1-15. ISSN 1932-6203

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