Dr Cynthia Hunter

Senior Lecturer in International Public Health
Public Health, School of Public Health

A27 - Edward Ford Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 2 9036 5045
F: +61 2 9351 5049

Biographical details

I was born in Western Australia and completed a Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at the University of Western Australia, graduating in 1984. In that same year I moved to Sydney and, after a brief contract at the University of Sydney, I worked on a Social Sciences project in Indonesia, teaching anthropology to undergraduate students for almost two years. This experience stimulated my interest in medical anthropology. On return to Sydney, I went on to complete my PhD at the University of Newcastle in 1996. I undertook two years of fieldwork in Indonesia, on medical pluralism on the island of Lombok. From 1998 – 2004 I had a series of academic positions teaching senior and postgraduate courses including: Master of Applied Anthropology and Development Studies (Macquarie); Medical Anthropology, Urban Anthropology, Society and Culture in South-East Asia (Macquarie); Indonesian Cultures: Bali to Borneo, South-East Asia Exemplary Studies, Making of the Third World (Sydney); Health and Culture (School of Public Health, Sydney); and Sex and Sexuality in South Asia (Western Sydney). During this time I undertook several health related consultancies : AusAID, the Medical Officer and Allied Health Project (MONAHP) in Papua New Guinea and Ford Foundation on Displaced Migration in Indonesia. From 2005 - 2008 I held a Senior Research Fellow position in which I worked for over a year as an ethnographer in two major paediatric hospitals.


Research interests

  • Ethnography as the major anthropological research method, process and product.

  • The anthropological study of zoonotic diseases and the human response in the Asia Pacific region.

  • Medical and hospital ethnography in high, middle and low income settings.

  • The application of ethnographically based research and other qualitative health research designs in international and national public health issues issues.

  • Anthropological research on contemporary Sasak society in Lombok

  • Children and paediatrics

Teaching areas



Role: Principal supervisor. Topic: The Psycho-Social Impact of Food and Nutrition on Palliative Care Patients and Their Carers.

Shivaughn M. LEE-FORSYTH PhD (Medicine)

Role: Principal supervisor

Topic: Feminization of HIV/AIDS: Professional women and silent players in the carnival bacchanal.

Mikiko CHONO PhD (Anthropology)

Role: Associate supervisor, Prof. Gillian Cowlishaw, Principal supervisor

Topic: Lonely Utopia: A case study of Aboriginal perceptions of disability in remote Kimberley, Western Australia.

Christian TYM PhD (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Role: Auxiliary supervisor

Topic: Intercultural Health at the Frontier of Expanding Nation-States: The Contested Amazonian Border Region of Ecuador and Peru.

Carolina QUESADA PhD (Anthropology)

Role: Primary supervisor

Topic: The sexual and reproductive experiences of women living in the south of Costa Rica.

International links

Indonesia. (Faculty of Medicine, Universitas of Indonesia World Health Organization (Indonesia)and Universitas Udayana, Bali, Universitas Mataram, Lombok, Indonesia) Research collaboration.
South Africa. (Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital (RCWMH) University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa) Research collaboration.
East Timor. (National University Timor Leste and Ministry of Health Timor Leste) research collaboration.