In the broadest sense, all of my research interests coalesce around the central role maternal dietary factors play in human health and disease and maternal health practices. In my efforts to understand these relationships, I have conducted both experimental animal research and studies with human research participants to explore the effects of maternal diet during and immediately after pregnancy on maternal and child health. One line of research in this area investigates key maternal dietary factors during pregnancy and breastfeeding that are associated with obesity-related health disorders among global populations with the highest burden of these diseases. Another line of research interest focuses on the alternative maternal health practice of maternal placentophagy – the consumption of the placenta postpartum. I am interested in the potential health benefits and risks this practice may yield for both mother and child. As with my obesity-related health research, my interests are notably anthropological. I am curious about the evolutionary context in which mammalian placentophagy evolved, as well as the reasons for its absence in the cross-cultural record, and the factors that led to its emergence as a popular maternal health trend.
Ph.D. : Arizona State University; Anthropology (2001)
Developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD), political ecology, cardiometabolic disease, type 2 diabetes, alternative and complementary/integrative medicine, placentophagy, public health policy, US health disparities, community-based participatory research, medical anthropology, nutritional anthropology, evolutionary medicine.