Dr. Godfred Boateng and Shalean Collins receive USDA ThinkWater Fellowship

fellows_icon water-thinking-boatsCongratulations to Dr. Godfred Boateng and Shalean Collins who have been accepted as USDA ThinkWater Fellows for 2016-2017. This fellowship builds on the theories of systems-thinking to enhance research in water-related fields by incorporating interdisciplinary communication, individually tailored consultation, public presentation, and peer-reviewed publication. Godfred and Shalean will spend the next 8 months developing skills they can apply to the development of the water insecurity scale, and analysis of formative qualitative water insecurity work.

Dr. Elizabeth Fox wins student poster competition at the Society for Applied Anthropology!

logoCongratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Fox for winning 1st place in the student poster
competition at the Society for Applied Anthropology’s 2016 Annual
Meeting
 in Vancouver. The poster highlighted a part of Elizabeth’s dissertation in which she used free listing to illuminate the array of messages HIV-infected mothers received in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and in which she explored the intra-cultural differences betwe
en health workers, and HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected mothers.

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Iron-Folic Acid and Calcium Supplementation in Pregnancy

Our paper, led by Stephanie Martin, on the use of formative research to develop behavior change strategies to promote iron-folic acid and calcium supplementation in pregnancy is now available in Maternal and Child Nutrition! In brief, we conducted in-depth interviews with pregnant and postpartum women and health workers in western Kenya to identify barriers and facilitators IFA_Calciumto adherence to prenatal micronutrient supplements. We then used our findings to develop a behavior change strategy with activities targeting the health system, health facility, community, household, and individual levels. This research and strategy are presented here, and the behavior change materials can be viewed here and above.

Low B-12 concentrations in Kenyan women’s breastmilk

Congratulations to Dr. Anne Williams and co-authors! Our manuscrhome_coveript “Breastmilk vitamin B-12 concentrations are low and are not associated with reported household hunger, recent animal source food or vitamin B-12 intake among women in rural Kenya” has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Nutrition. We found lower than average dietary B-12 intake and breastmilk B-12 concentrations in lactating Kenyan women. This has important policy and programmatic applications for maternal health and child development.

NIH digs our water insecurity ideas!

In the course of our formative work in Kenya on food insecurity (cf. Pith Moromo, below), we discovered that household level water insecurity seems to be an unappreciated source of adverse physical and mental health. As such, it brought me great pleasure that the Young Group received the official notice of award today for our R21 application entitled “Health Consequences of Water Insecurity for HIV+ Women.” We are excited that we will be able to continue to work with our birth cohort in Kenya, to explore the experiences of water insecurity as well as food insecurity.

Pictured below, Godfred Boateng and Shalean Collins are holding the custom kanga that Ann Lei, an undergraduate in the Young Research Group, designed. We will be gifting these to the mothers in our cohort study with as a token of our gratitude. Maybe we will send one to our Program Officer, too!

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Representing at EB 2016

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The Young Group will be bringing it hard at Experimental Biology 2016, the premier nutritional science research venue. With 6 oral presentations and 8 posters, the team is gearing up for a robust and productive conference session. We are especially proud that two of our oral presentations have undergraduate group members as first authors. Nice Formation!

SNAP Baseline survey launches

Thanks to this expert team of enumerators and anthropometry gurus, the baseline survey for the Singida Nutrition and Agroecology Project has begun! Rachel Bezner Kerr, Vicky Santoso and I had a lot of fun pitching in with the participant selection and training. We give an especially big thanks to the leadership at Action Aid Tanzania and Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology for pulling off such a major feat. (Yes, that’s us SNAPping in the photo!)

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Our AJCN paper turns 100!

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According to Google Scholar, our paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which we outline the pathways by which food insecurity can be deleterious in the context of HIV, has reached 100 citations. This paper provided important theoretical framing for our approach to understanding the consequences of food insecurity among mothers and children in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Geophagy in Uganda

Paula & GeresomuDr. Paula Pebsworth, our star primatologist post-doc, is busy setting up more camera traps (one pictured, bottom right) in Budongo Forest, Uganda. As it turns out, the chimpanzees there are wild about eating earth (as are many other species), and Paula is working hard to assess just what it is, exactly, that drives this behavior. We are fortunate to be collaborating with some terrific phytochemists, Dr. John Arnason and Dr. Chieu Anh Ta to investigate the detoxification capacity of these craved earths.

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