- Senior Fellow
- Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
- Professor of Medical Anthropology, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leiden University Medical Center
- Honorary Professor, Children’s Institute, School of Child and Adolescent Psychology, University of Cape Town
Though Ria Reis began her career as a cultural anthropologist specializing in Tibetan Buddhism, her doctoral research took her to Africa and medical anthropology. Most of her work articulates anthropological research within multidisciplinary health research and interventions, particularly in collaborative projects with partners in policy and practice. Over the past two decades, her research has shifted from epilepsy and disability studies to young people’s health perceptions and strategies and the transgenerational transmission of vulnerabilities and resilience in contexts of inequality. She has a particular interest in youth mental health and cultural idioms of distress as expressions of communal social suffering in regions affected by epidemics, disasters, conflicts, and violence.
Currently, she leads the implementation research component in EAP0C-V that studies the feasibility and acceptability of point of care HIV viral load monitoring for children and adolescents in East Africa. She also leads AIGHD work in WHO-PEN@Scale on syndemic processes and the implementation of the WHO’s package of essential NCD interventions for primary health care in Eswatini. In South Africa, she is an Honorary Professor at the Children’s Institute of the University of Cape Town (UCT). In 2021 she retired from her position as Professor of Medical Anthropology at Leiden University Medical Center, the Department of Public Health and Primary Care (LUMC/PHEG), where she contributed to the development of syndemic research and education agenda, and the strengthening of qualitative approaches in clinical and population health research. As Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Anthropology, she was PI of the social science component of the MaxART Universal Test and Treat Implementation study program and of two consecutive projects in Burundi, on the intergenerational transmission of violence and the effectiveness of sexuality education respectively. She is a Fellow at the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) community.