The 86th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2017)

Land of Milk and Honey: Infiltrating Academia to Pursue Overlooked Topics


School of Human Evolution & Social Change, Arizona State University, Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University, Brain, Mind, & Behavior Unit, California National Primate Research Center

April 21, 2017 2:45, Riverview 1 Add to calendar

Situated at the intersection of the social and life sciences, biological anthropology provides exceptional translational opportunities to contribute to improving human health and public policy. The effectiveness of that translation, however, is contingent on the inclusivity of populations that are involved and impacted by the research and the motivation of academics to aid translation through active outreach and growth attitudes. Here I will discuss the development and context of my research studying maternal physiological investment and how this work, anchored in life history theory, is now being applied in medicine and industry to enhance approaches to neonatal health and dairy science. Importantly, my experiences of early life poverty, from rural agricultural to urban artist-activist communities, shaped my professional trajectory and philosophy. Notably, my background influenced my operationalization of the social contract within academia. These perspectives and lived experiences prepared and empowered me to pursue a largely overlooked topic, translate my research broadly, and to direct efforts toward our own academic community by addressing experiences of sexual harassment and assault via the SAFE study. In these ways, professional activism, inward and outward, is an integral component of my research program and scholarly identity. Promoting equal opportunity- whether for breastfeeding medicine or within academic communities- is the manifestation of this professional philosophy.

Lactation biology research supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS-0921978, BCS-0525025, and IOS-1456174).