I am broadly interested in the social and cultural factors that influence susceptibility to infectious disease outbreaks. Such factors include attitudes & beliefs, prevention and/or health-seeking behaviors, coping mechanisms, access to health care, and structural violence. As a former journalist, I am also interested in public awareness, perceptions of risk, the role of news media, and distrust in science.
My current research lies at the intersection of disaster and disease. In the aftermath of disaster, health care infrastructure is compromised, people are displaced, survivors can be exposed to a myriad of toxins and pathogens, water and sanitation systems are disrupted, and food may become scarce. The risk of a post-disaster outbreak is dependent upon many factors, which vary widely from place to place. As such, research at this intersection requires a holistic view with particular attention to local context. Through ethnographic research, I explore the experiences of individuals and communities, and I aim to apply this knowledge through the development of plans to build community resilience through preparedness and prevention programs, as well as response strategies. My most recent ethnographic work took place in Japan and the Dominican Republic.
Other Research Interests
Zika (ZIKV), pandemic influenza, vaccines, mosquito-borne disease prevention strategies, Latin America and the Caribbean, migrant health in South Florida, climate change and human health, public awareness and news media