Maternal and Child Health Doctoral Student Profile - Kathryn Wouk
Kathryn Wouk, MS
Program Initiated: 2013
Primary Advisor: Alison Stuebe, MD
Research Interests: breastfeeding; perinatal mood disorders; Latina health
Dissertation Research: The association between positive emotions during infant feeding and both perinatal mood symptoms and breastfeeding outcomes; results used to estimate the improvement in mood and breastfeeding achieved by a realistic intervention on positive emotions.
Honors/Awards: Maternal and Child Health Traineeship (2013-2014); Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology Traineeship (2015-present); Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute Award (2015)
Bio: Two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia provided Katie’s first exposure to maternal and child health. After Peace Corps, she pursued a Masters of Science in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition at Tufts University’s Friedman School, where she had the opportunity to return to Bolivia as the research assistant for a study analyzing the sustainability of USAID Food for Peace programs. Upon graduation from Tufts, she engaged with maternal and child health issues in a resource-poor setting in her own country, working as a Spanish-speaking nutritionist at a clinic in the Bronx. These experiences shaped her decision to apply as a doctoral student in Maternal and Child Health at UNC, where she collaborates with breastfeeding experts at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) and broadens her quantitative research methods through a formal minor in epidemiology. Her dissertation work will contribute to the emerging literature on breastfeeding and perinatal mental health.
During her time at UNC, she has joined a variety of organizations aligned with her research interests, such as the Breastfeeding Umbrella Study Team (BUST), APHA’s Breastfeeding Forum, and the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition. She has co-chaired the MCH Doctoral Student Committee and currently serves as the Graduate School Parent Advocate. She completed the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative to become a Lactation Consultant in 2015-16, and she has worked as a teaching assistant for both MHCH 701, Foundations of Maternal and Child Health, and EPID 718, Analytical Methods in Observational Epidemiology.
Katie’s general interests include typical Carrboro pursuits like raising backyard chickens, biking, and yoga. She is the proud new mother of Queen Juno, who she plans to dress up as her eponymous space probe for Halloween!