Sharon Watson

Sharon Watson

Assistant Professor

PROFILE: Sharon Elizabeth Watson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UNC Charlotte. She is an applied anthropologist and public health professional. She has nearly 20 years of experience in academic and applied work in domestic and international settings. She has employed her toolset in ethics, epidemiology, qualitative and quantitative methods on collaborative private and public projects.

Most broadly Dr. Watson’s research examines how what we know, through scientific research, makes its way into real life changes and policies. Her work contributes to the goals of implementation and dissemination research in exploring how we can improve the translation of research into practice. Her recent research looked specifically at the long-term benefits of exposure to qualitative research methods, ethics and field experience on a group of young people in Lesotho. Lesotho having one of the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates, she investigated how the practice of conducting interviews and focus group discussions about social and cultural aspects of HIV became a form of prevention itself. She evaluated how HIV sexual, social, and behavioral prevention research results made their way (or not) to organizations and the general population. She also studies the interactions between the pharmaceutical industry, financial stakeholders and individual approaches to accessing medicines.

Dr. Watson is currently investigating the role of work in health and well-being and what this means in a growing global economy with a decreasing need for human labor. She is also planning a new project on how scientific studies on social mobility and the social determinants of health inform individual and policy level decisions on housing and school choice.

She embraces anthropology as a key to understanding human differences, having lived on an island with more sheep than people to the second largest banking center in America, anthropology is therapy. She has lived in the USA, Uganda, India, Lesotho, South Africa, and Sardinia.

Watson Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., University of South Florida-Department of Anthropology 2017
  • MPH, University of South Florida-College of Public Health 2006
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame- Anthropology and Arts and Letters Pre-Professional 2002


  • Money, Health, and Happiness: Ethical and Cultural Critique (Issues of Health and Quality of Life)
  • Action, justice and change: An Introduction to Engaged and Applied Anthropology
  • Cross-Cultural Health Issues
  • Introduction to Anthropology


Applied anthropology, development studies, medical anthropology, implementation & dissemination, HIV/AIDS, food insecurity, cultural aspects of health, participatory action research, community health, program planning and evaluation, health policy and management, health systems, work, social mobility, and racism


  • Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions, Travel Grant 2007
  • Introduced Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai sponsored by the Earth Charter Communities USA, the USF Lecture Series and the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions at USF 2006
  • University of South Florida Graduate Education Opportunity Grant 2003-2005
  • Grant Recipient from the Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts 2001-2002
  • Lambda Alpha National Honors Society for Anthropology 2002
  • Presented with John Joyce Award by the Higgins Labor Research Center 2002
  • University of Notre Dame Sankofa Scholar 1998-2002


  • Watson, S.E. (2019). “AIDS is everyone’s business”: Pharmaceuticals, international power plays, TRIPS, and the Fast-Track. In Baxerres, C. Marquis, C. (coord.) Régulations, Marchés, Santé : interroger les enjeux actuels du médicament en Afrique / Regulations, Markets, Health : questioning current stakes of pharmaceuticals in Africa, Mar 2018, Ouidah, Bénin. 2018.
  • MacQueen, KM., S. Dlamini, B. Perry, E. Okumu, S. Sortijas, C. Singh, D. Pillay, A. Majors, S. Jerome, S. Watson, SA. Karim, QA, Karim, and LE. Mansoor (2016) Social Context of Adherence in an Open-Label 1% Tenofovir Gel Trial: Gender Dynamics and Disclosure in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. AIDS and Behavior, November 2016, 20 (11): 2682-2691.
  • Hildebrand, M., C. Ahumada, and S. Watson (2013) CrowdOutAIDS: crowdsourcing youth perspectives for action. Reproductive Health Matters, 21 (41):57-68.
  • Watson Lai, S., R. Mpemi, N. Romero-Daza, D. Himmelgreen and I. Okello-Uma. (2008) Ethical but Unfunded? Planning HIV Mitigation in Lesotho. Practicing Anthropology 30(4):13-16.
  • Davis-Salazar, K. and S. Watson (2005). “The Group Research Poster as a Method of Student Inquiry in Large Classes”. In Strategies in Teaching Anthropology 3rd Edition. Rice, P and Mcurdy, D (eds). NJ: Prentice-Hall.