When an anthropologist goes to the field to conduct ethnographic fieldwork, learning the language and beliefs of the culture is a crucial part of the preparatory process. The same can be said for anthropological research that focuses on a particular social institution or practice. For medical anthropologists studying aspects of public health this typically means learning a wealth of indigenous medical knowledge in the places where we work. Yet when we turn that gaze back upon ourselves, when we put ourselves into another institutional setting within our own culture, a true challenge emerges. The same is true for those working in public health policy, they regularly confront formidable social and cultural boundaries. As a socio-cultural anthropologist, my main areas of training have been in qualitative and ethnographic research methods. I have been studying the social as well as physiological constructions of 'health'—in particular, HIV/AIDS—in southern Africa for well over 15 years. Although I became conversant in the local language (SeTswana) and was fully immersed in the culture, my preparation did not include training in public health. Because my research has come to address significant questions about the greatest public health catastrophe of the past half century, this 'missing piece' in my credentials has not only limited my incorporation of policy issues and considerations into my research, it is a challenge at times to get policy makers and officials to listen to anthropological recommendations. This project will help overcome this dearth in my training, broaden my own interpretative lenses and ultimately increase my contributions to the landscape of anthropological knowledge.