Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Thipphaphone Xayavong

Thipphaphone Xayavong

Contact details

Email: Thipphaphone dot Xayavong at warwick dot ac dot uk

Current PhD student


I am a EUTOPIA PhD Student in Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick and in the Department of Geography at the CY Cergy Paris Université. My Master's degree in Peace Education influences my PhD thesis, Learning Space, as it aims to critically investigate the role of education and its effects on the health beliefs and behaviours of the rural populations and ethnic people. I am particularly interested in utilising the Participatory Research approaches to engage community members in co-producing knowledge that challenges the dominant research discourses.

Academic background

  • 2021- Present: PhD student under EUTOPIA Co-tutelle Program
    • Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick, UK
    • Department of Geography and Planning at the CY Cergy Paris Université, France
  • 2018-2019: Dual Masters' Programme under Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship
    • MA in Peace Education, University for Peace, Costa Rica
    • MA in Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines
  • 2011-2015: BA in Foreign Affairs, National University of Laos, Lao PDR


Research Overview

Learning Space: Pathways to Health Belief and Behaviours

Learning Space: Pathways to Health Belief and Behaviours, is interdisciplinary research that aims to study the health beliefs and health-seeking behaviours of ethnic Yrou in southern Laos. The goal is to understand how health is perceived by the people and how they negotiate their syncretic health-seeking behaviours in the context of modernization and development. For ethnic communities, their understanding of what can cause unwellness, while broader, is often in conflict with the aetiology of biomedicine. Social and cultural factors such as relationship with the land, morality, social cohesion and so on, are rooted in people’s health beliefs that influence their healthcare decision-making. These cultural traits – which are in fact common across the world are fundamentally rejected by the biomedical approach that determines our global health interventions. However, my research with Yrou communities in southern Laos suggests that the perception of Yrou people on health issues today is not separate from their cosmological views nor alienated from biomedical perspectives. While the disease can harm health, the continuation of their living heritage, called riid, is also crucial in maintaining and retaining good health. This evolving understanding of health among the Yrou people is critically important to expand our understanding of how development and modernity affect and change some Yrou customary practices in contemporary times.

Research interests

Public Health, Cultural Heritage; Education; Participatory Research; Decolonising Research Methodologies; Southeast Asia,

Public engagements

  • 02/2021 - 04/2021 Participatory Training for Research Assistants from Communities (Lao PDR): Designed and implemented participatory training with 10 participants representing 3 villages of research communities in Champasak province; A part of participatory approach for Learning Space project.
  • 07/2019 - 11/2019 A Model for Building Youth Capacity on Interfaith: Youth interfaith Training and Conference in Mandalay, (Myanmar): Co-designed and co-facilitated the training with 13 trainees; A capstone project for master programme, Ateneo de Manila University and Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship
  • 12/2017 - 02/2018 Educational activities in rural Salavan (Lao PDR): Designed and implemented two-directional engagement workshops with 75 participants in 3 villages; Activities featured in peer-reviewed publications (Antibiotics, Medical Humanities, Global Health Action)


  • Haenssgen, MJ, Charoenboon, N, Xayavong, T & Althaus, T (2020). Precarity and clinical determinants of healthcare-seeking behaviour and antibiotic use in rural Laos and Thailand. BMJ Global Health, 5:e003779. doi:10.1136/bmlgh-2020-003779
  • Haenssgen, MJ, Charoenboon, N, Zanello, G, Mayxay, M, … Xayavong, T et al. (2019). Antibiotic knowledge, attitudes, and practices: new insights from cross-sectional rural health behaviour surveys in low- and middle-income Southeast Asia. BMJ Open, 9: e028224. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028224
  • Charoenboon, N, Haenssgen, MJ, Warapikuptanun, P, Xayavong, T & Khine Zaw, Y (2019). Translating AMR: a case study of context and consequences of antibiotic-related communication in three northern Thai villages. Palgrave Communications, 5(23). doi: 10.1057/s41599-019-0226-9
  • Haenssgen, MJ, Xayavong, T, Charoenboon, N, Warapikuptanun, P & Khine Zaw, Y (2018). The consequences of AMR education and awareness raising: outputs, outcomes, and behavioural impacts of an antibiotic-related educational activity in Lao PDR. Antibiotics, 7(4), 95. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics7040095
  • Haenssgen, MJ, Charoenboon, N, Zanello, G, Mayxay, M, … Xayavong, T et al. (2018). Antibiotics and activity spaces: protocol of an exploratory study of behaviour, marginalisation, and knowledge diffusion. BMJ Global Health, 3(e000621). doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000621

Other publications

  • Haenssgen, MJ and Xayavong, T. (2021). Reshaping education and development: Learning from the Yru of Laos, published in New Mandala.
  • Zuan, K, Burke, JM, Okimoto, N, Na, H & Xayavong, T. Children’s book: No Matter What. (unpublished final assignment for Human Rights Education course, University for Peace).
  • Trisnajaya, P, Michino, J, Hoang, TH & Xayavong T. Capstone project: A Model for Building Youth Capacity on Interfaith: Youth interfaith Training and Conference in Mandalay, Myanmar (unpublished final assignment for master programme, Ateneo de Manila University).

Research fundings

Learning Space: Education and Its Pathways to Health Belief and Behaviours (Lao PDR), Co-principal Investigator with Dr Marco J Haenssgen

  • University of Warwick Institutional Research Support Fund: £4,000
  • Institute of Advanced Study (University of Warwick): £2,000
  • University of Warwick Connecting Cultures (Global Research Priority): £1,200