Anna Reetta Rönkä

Postdoctoral researcher
Arctic; health and wellbeing; loneliness; citizen science; mixed methods

Research Unit of Biomedicine and Internal Medicine
Faculty of Medicine

Anna Reetta Rönkä

I am a social scientist and a postdoctoral researcher from Arctic Health research group, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu Finland. I work at two EU funded projects ILLUQ (June-July 2024, grant agreement Nr. 101133587) and ArcSolution (August 2024-). ILLUQ focuses on impacts of permafrost thaw on Arctic communities and ecosystems, specifically on pollution health and wellbeing in One Health context. ArcSolution focuses on pollution from local and remote sources in a climate change context, pollutant accumulation in food webs and human exposure, and develops One Health concept which take consideration perspectives of indigenous and local people. In the projects I am involved with communities, and I am working on citizen science project conducted with local and indigenous peoples in the four study locations. My background is in cultural anthropology.

The topic of my PhD research was experiences of loneliness among young people living in Northern Finland ("Experiences of loneliness from childhood to young adulthood. Study of Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986"). In my thesis, I utilized both quantitative birth cohort (BC) data and qualitative interviews and analyzed those using a mixed-methods approach.

My current research interests relate to Participatory and Citizen science methods in Arctic contexts; One Health; Circumpolar health and wellbeing; Intersectional gender equality in the Arctic, and Arctic loneliness. I am a vice-lead of University of the Arctic´s Thematic Network on health and Wellbeing in the Arctic.

Previously, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Education, Gender studies. I worked in A-SPIT / Syljen jäljet research project, which studies direct-to-consumer DNA testing and its effects on kinship and family ties. My postdoctoral project focuses on the experiences of adult adoptees in their search for their biological kin through DTC DNA testing. I am also a member of Research Group for Epistemic Matters (REM).

I have been involved in two other postdoctoral projects as well. During 2022 and 2023 I worked in a project focusing on intersectional gender equality in the academia in the Arctic North.

I have also been focusing on issues of knowledge production in Birth Cohort studies, and research participant experiences in BC studies (Lives over time: Birth cohort studies as a form of scientific knowledge-production, 2018-2021, Academy of Finland 2019–2021).

Research interests

  • circumpolar health and wellbeing
  • loneliness and non-belongingness
  • family and kinship relationships
  • mixed methods approach
  • research participant experience
  • citizen science
  • Arctic

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