Dr Cornelia Guell

Career Development Fellow

Cornelia has now left CEDAR, and joined the University of Exeter Medical School (See profile page.)

For more about her work in CEDAR, please contact her colleagues in the Physical Activity and Public Health group.

Email: C.Guell@exeter.ac.uk


  • PhD Social Anthropology – University of Edinburgh, 2009
  • MSc by Research Anthropology of Health and Illness – University of Edinburgh, 2006
  • MSc Medical Anthropology – Brunel University, 2004
  • MA Sociology and Social Anthropology – Heidelberg University, 2003

Background and experience
Cornelia is a medical anthropologist with an interest in developing an ethnographic social science perspective on how chronic illness and its primary and secondary prevention – in practice and policy – shape everyday social lives in a variety of settings and contexts. In her research dissertations Cornelia investigated changing work patterns and patient care in light of a new hospital finance system and coping strategies of children with juvenile arthritis. Cornelia’s PhD research – for which she received funding from the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the Wenner-Gren Foundation – explored Turkish immigrant experiences with diabetes care in Berlin, Germany.

After her PhD, she undertook research on physical activity in British Pakistani women in the North East of England (Durham University), and joined the MRC Epidemiology Unit and the Centre of Excellence for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) in Cambridge as a research associate and qualitative lead on the Commuting and Health in Cambridge study to understand decision-making and social contexts of active travel. Cornelia then worked as a lecturer within the public health group at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill, Barbados) from January 2011 to January 2014. Her research focused on chronic illness experiences and practices as well as policy planning and implementation in the Caribbean region.

Current work and interests
Cornelia worked in the Physical Activity and Public Health group, led by David Ogilvie. Her ethnographic research focused on understanding practices and perceptions of active and sedentary living of older adults in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort as part of the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing study. Cornelia is also interested in stakeholder engagement and how stakeholders assess, negotiate and apply evidence. She also worked in collaboration with the University of the West Indies, supervising and supporting qualitative research on physical activity as well as the policy process.

Cornelia organised the Social Analysis of Health group, which is part of the Public Health@Cambridge network. She teaches medical anthropology/sociology as well as qualitative research methods.