Gillings School Directory
Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, IBCLC

Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, IBCLC

Assistant Professor
Maternal and Child Health, Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
  • 422C Rosenau, CB #7445, Chapel Hill NC 27599-7445

Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, MA, IBCLC is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health and an affiliate of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI). She is a medical anthropologist and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Dr. Palmquist’s research addresses the intersectionality of perinatal maternal, newborn, and young child health disparities globally and in the U.S. Specific areas of interest include the birthing, breastfeeding, and birth spacing continuum; human milk sharing and milk banking; and infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E).  Dr. Palmquist’s interdisciplinary work bridges critical biocultural anthropology and global public health. She conducts community-based participatory research and uses both ethnographic methods and mixed-methods approaches. Her work is informed by human rights frameworks and a reproductive justice lens.

Dr. Palmquist is the lead for the CGBI Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies (L.I.F.E.) Initiative and the Humanitarian Maternal and Child Health Program. She serves as a CGBI representative on the WHO/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective, the Emergency Nutrition Network IFE Core Group, the CORE group Humanitarian-Development Task Force, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee. Dr. Palmquist has previously served as an International Lactation Consultants Association liaison to the United Nations.

At UNC Dr. Palmquist teaches a Global Breastfeeding seminar for MCH students and lectures in in the CGBI Mary Rose Tully Lactation Training Initiative for aspiring lactation consultants. She has presented her research at national and international academic conferences, and speaks to audiences of health care professionals and lay birth and breastfeeding supporters across the world.

Honors and Awards

IBM Junior Faculty Development Award


North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition, IBLCE Exam Scholarship


Hultquist New Faculty Fellowship

2012, Elon University

Pacific Fellowship, American Association for University Women, Hawaii Chapter


Representative Courses

MHCH 605 Survey Course on Breastfeeding and Public Health

MHCH 890 Special Topics: Humanitarian Maternal and Child Health

Research Activities

Unpacking Disparities in Critical Care for Black/African American Mothers and Newborns in North Carolina (PI)

Understanding the Delivery Gap for Internally Displaced Mothers and Children in Fragile Contexts: Perinatal Mental Health, Infant Feeding Practices, and Malnutrition in Iraq (PI)

Parenting for Peace, Nejapa, Nicaragua (Co-I)

Mental Health Status and Unmet Needs for Mental Health Services of the Iraqi Adult Internally Displaced peoples (IDPs) in the Garmian Region, Iraq: A Cross-Sectional Survey (Co-I)

Infant Feeding Support in Complex Humanitarian Crises: Volunteerism During ‘The Syrian Refugee Crisis’ in Europe (PI)

Anthropological Contexts of Milk Sharing (AnthroCOMS) Study (PI)

Service Activities

2018-present  United States Breastfeeding Committee, Donor Human Milk Constellation

2018-present  United States Breastfeeding Committee, Research and Evidence Constellation

2018-present  CORE Group Humanitarian-Development Taskforce

2018-present  Emergency Nutrition Network Infant Feeding in Emergencies (IFE) Core Group, Membership and Conflicts of Interest Working Group

2018-present  Emergency Nutrition Network, Managing Acute Malnutrition in Infants (MAMI) Special Interest Group

2018  Hurricane Florence Response Advisory Group

2017-present  WHO/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective

2017-present  World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action

2017-2019  United States Breastfeeding Committee, LSP Constellation

2012-present  Planning Committee, Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference

Practice Activities

Equity Specialist and Training Specialist, Reclaiming, Improving, and Sustaining Equity (RISE)

Clinical Support for Breastfeeding, Basic Skills for Supporting Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies, MRT-TI Spring Workshop. January 2019.

Supporting Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies: Challenges and Opportunities in the United States, EAHEC WIC Continuing Education and Training

Deconstructing fake equity: Lessons learned form a dominant culture institution.  International Lactation Consultants Association annual meeting, July 2018.

Lactation support in disasters and emergencies: Integrating life course, psychosocial, and human rights perspectives.  International Lactation Consultants Association annual meeting, July 2018.

Key Publications

Psychosocial dimensions of human milk sharing. Schafer E, Ashida, S and Palmquist, AEL  (2018). Maternal and Child Nutrition, 14(6).

A pilot study on nutrients, antimicrobial proteins, and bacteria in commerce-free models for exchanging expressed human milk in the USA. Perrin MT, Fogleman AD, Davis DD, Wimer CH, Vogel KG, and Palmquist, AEL  Maternal and Child Nutrition, 14(6).

Gender, displacement, and infant and young child feeding in emergencies. Palmquist, AEL and Gribble, KD.  (2018). International Handbook of Gender and Demographic Processes.

Donor human milk, human milk products, and milk sharing. Carney, V and Palmquist AEL.  (2018). Infant and Pediatric Feedings: Guidelines for the Preparation of Human Milk and Formula in Health Care Facilities, Third Edition.

Breastfeeding: New Anthropological Approaches. Tomori C, Palmquist AEL, and Quinn EA (2018).


Board Cert, Clinical Lactation (IBCLC), UNC-CH, 2018

Trainee, MRTTI-Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2013

Postdoctoral Fellow, Global Health, Yale University, 2011

Postdoctoral Fellow, Social Network Methods, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2009

PhD, Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Manoa, 2006

MA, Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Manoa, 1997

BA, Anthropology, University of Louisville, Louisville KY, 1994

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