My research interests include environmental and public health governance, social medicine, social and environmental justice issues, political ecology, health inequalities & disparities, urban issues, and research methods (qualitative and quantitative). I am especially interested in research situated in Latin America and the U.S., though the theoretical frameworks and methodologies I employ are applicable to understanding issues, events, and themes around the world.

Major Current Research Projects

  • Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien (“Living Well”): Public Health, Medicine, & Development in Latin America (2017 – Present)

This project examines the implications of the radical concepts “buen vivir” / “vivir bien” for public health and medicine in Latin America, particularly Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Findings have been published in American Journal of Public Health , Global Public Health, and NACLA Report on the Americas. See also, Political Geography.

  • Waste Picker Livelihoods in NYC & Globally (2021 – Present)

In 2017, I began volunteering at Sure We Can, NYC’s only not-for-profit redemption center. Sure We Can serves approximately 500 “canners” and also is an environmental education center, regularly features local and international artwork, and supports a composting project. In 2018 I became a member of Sure We Can’s Executive Board.

This research project began by examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on informal recyclers in NYC and globally. It was led by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). To date, this research has resulted in an academic article in Local Environment, several policy reports (available here, here and here), and an article for broader readership (available here).

Past Research Projects

  • The impacts of low-level violence on health and development in Nicaragua (2018 – 2022)

In April 2018, violence broke out in Nicaragua. This study examines the impacts of violence on infectious disease incidence rates and healthcare delivery by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

  • Waste Picker Livelihoods in Nicaragua (2009 – 2016)

From 2009-2016, I analyzed waste picker livelihoods amidst changing municipal solid waste management (MSWM) practices at the La Chureca landfill in Managua, Nicaragua. Findings have been published in Waste ManagementJournal of Latin American GeographyNACLA, and La Prensa (Nicaragua). Excerpts from oral histories conducted in 2009-10 are here, here, and here.

The “Community Voices on Genetics and Health Disparities” project (2010-2012) was a community-engaged study that assessed knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about genetics, genetic research, and health inequalities among underserved communities in Cleveland. Study findings are published in International Journal of EpidemiologyJournal of Primary Prevention, and Journal of Community Genetics


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