New publication on Life course influences on food provisioning among Mexican-born mothers in New York State (free access for 50 days)

In September 2018, Amanda McClain and co-authors Kate Dickin and Jamie Dollahite published a paper on “Life course influences on food provisioning among low-income, Mexican-born mothers with young children at risk of food insecurity” in the journal “Appetite.”

This link provides free access to the paper for 50 days:

Dr. McClain’s doctoral research at Cornell explored life course and ecological system influences on food provisioning among low-income, Mexican-born mothers in the U.S. to identify target influences and behaviors for interventions. Life Course Perspective and Ecological Systems Theory guided this qualitative study of women born in Mexico who had lived ≤10 years in U.S., had  at least one child 5 years old or younger, and household incomes <200% of the federal poverty line. Participants completed two semi-structured interviews, including a participant-driven photo elicitation interview.  Five themes emerged that were related to three key life course concepts: social context in Mexico (food insecurity experiences, agrarian experiences, and traditional foods and flavors), transitions (motherhood), and turning points (health events). All themes related to mothers’ overall priority of providing home-cooked meals, and demonstrated life course influences shaping food provisioning values and strategies.



Doctoral student, Ibukun Owoputi, presents cross-cutting research in Accra, Ghana

Doctoral candidate, Ibukun Owoputi, presented her research titled, “Farm production diversity improves children’s intake of vitamin A-rich foods and household food security in Malawi” at the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health Academy (ANH) Week Conference in Accra, Ghana, June 25-29, 2018. ANH gathers global researchers in agriculture, nutrition, and food systems in developing countries. Researchers discussed new and innovative methods for tracking improvements in nutrition and health, with a cross-cutting theme of gender and equity. Click the righthand image for a closer look at Ibukun’s poster!

CENTIR undergraduate presents research at Cornell

Undergraduate researcher Luiza Chempkemoi ’18 (pictured right) presents her research to Katherine Dickin (pictured left) and the larger Cornell community at the Global and Public Health Experiential Learning Symposium in Fall 2017. Titled “Community-based stakeholder mapping: An approach to explore district challenges and opportunities for multi-sectoral nutrition action in Tanzania,” Luiza’s research was an extension of the Building Strong Nutrition Systems (BSNS) project to identify potential community-based actions for scaling up nutrition in Tanzania. Click here for a closer look at her poster. Way to go, Luiza!

Undergraduate research assistants collaborate to share findings at Cornell symposium

stakeholder-mapping-posterUndergraduate researchers Jared Alpern ’18, Luiza Chepkemoi ’18, and Hasna Zainul ’17 (pictured left to right) jointly presented their work at the Global Health Learning Symposium on October 16, 2016. Their poster, titled “Community-based stakeholder mapping: an approach to strengthen multisectoral nutrition interventions,” explored preliminary findings on a mentoring program with District Nutrition Officers in two model districts in Tanzania. As part of the Building Strong Nutrition Systems Project, the program sought to engage community-based, cross disciplinary stakeholders in efforts to strengthen multisectoral strategies to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. Great job, Jared, Luiza & Hasna!

New article by Dr. Laura Smith on predictors of aflatoxin risk

UntitledCENTIR alumna Dr. Laura Smith published a new article, “Examining environmental drivers of spatial variability in aflatoxin accumulation in Kenya maize: Potential utility in risk prediction models,” exploring low cost strategies to predict aflatoxin contamination in maize. Aflatoxins have been associated with stunted growth and delayed development in children and more research is needed to determine how to prevent exposure. For the full article,  visit:

Doctoral candidate Sarah Dumas publishes on the use of smallholder poultry interventions to promote food security

Congratulations to PhD candidate Sarah Dumas whose manuscript “Sustainable smallholder poultry interventions to promote food security and social, agricultural, and ecological resilience in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia” was published in the Food Security journal in June 2016 (Click here for abstract). Her research highlights two small poultry interventions implemented by Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) and demonstrates that addressing health and management challenges within an existing small scale poultry system can not only improve the productivity and profitability for smallholder farmers but the general food security and health for local communities.

New article by Dr. Rukundo Kambarami on factors associated with CHW performance in rural Zimbabwe

Dr. Rukundo Kambarami Benedict, CENTIR alumna and postdoctoral associate, published an article on Community Heath Worker (CHW) performance in the June 2016 issue of Global Health Science and Practice. Titled “Factors Associated With Community Health Worker Performance Differ by Task in a Multi-Tasked Setting in Rural Zimbabwe,” the full manuscript is available here. The paper identified that different factors were associated with CHW performance on different tasks and discussed implications of these findings for CHW programs:

“Programs should consider specific tasks and how they relate to health worker factors, community support, and the work context… Overall, improving CHW performance in multi-task environments requires building a facilitative environment. This means using community-wide interventions that integrate CHW demographic factors, the community, and the work context.”

CENTIR collaborates with UNICEF South Asia on breastfeeding and maternal nutrition research

CENTIR is excited for the new collaboration with the UNICEF South AsiaPromise to Impact Office! Dr. Rukundo Kambarami Benedict will lead this collaboration to examine the epidemiology of breastfeeding in South Asia, explore the effectiveness of strategies to support optimal breastfeeding practices and assess the quality of maternal nutrition and infant feeding counseling during antenatal care. This work will contribute to nutrition policy and programming in the region and directly address some of the calls to action in the recent Global Nutrition Report 2016, available here.

Use of formative research to develop a behaviour change strategy to promote iron-folic acid and calcium supplementation in pregnancy

UntitledA new article published in Maternal and Child Nutrition by Stephanie Martin, Gretchen Seim, Salome Wawire, Gina Chapleau, Sera Young and Kate Dickin, describes conducting in-depth interviews with pregnant and postpartum women and health workers in western Kenya to examine barriers and facilitators to adherence to prenatal micronutrient supplements (Click here for the full article). Findings were used to develop a multi-level behavior change approach with activities targeting the health system, health facility, community, household, and individual levels (Click here to access the supplementary behavior change materials).

“Fungal toxins are poisoning Africa’s children,” says new report

Science 2016

Fungal toxins on food is a massive problem especially for children; refugee camp, eastern DRC, Kate Holt/Oxfam (CC BY 2.0)

Professor Rebecca Stoltzfus and collaborators contributed to a recent report released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), discussing the “invisible” epidemic of fungal toxins in food that stunt growth and delay development in many children in Africa and parts of Asia:

“The toxins have long been known to cause liver cancer and, in high enough concentrations, death. But this is the first time that they have been shown by multiple studies to contribute significantly to childhood development.”

The report was highlighted in an article by Science magazine (Click here for the full article) and recommends strategies including field treatment, improved approaches to food storage, and diet diversification which will likely be part of the solution moving forward. For more information on mycotoxin control, please see the full report by IARC here.