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

Dr. Palmquist is an assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI). She is a medical anthropologist and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Her research and advocacy are focused on understanding and reducing breastfeeding disparities globally and locally.

Dr. Palmquist’s research addresses the intersection of social inequality and breastfeeding in populations and communities experiencing high rates of maternal and infant perinatal morbidity and mortality. Specific areas of interest include global birth practice, breastfeeding and birth spacing; cooperative infant care and lactation (including alloparenting, 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, and she utilizes ethnographic methods and mixed-methods approaches.

Dr. Palmquist has served as an International Lactation Consultants Association liaison to the United Nations. At UNC she teaches a Global Breastfeeding seminar for MCH students and lectures in in the CGBI Mary Rose Tully Lactation Training Initiative for aspiring lactation consultants. Dr. Palmquist 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

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

Research Activities

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

Service Activities

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-present  National Coalition on Children and Disasters

2017-present  WHO/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective

2017-present  World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action

2017-present  United States Breastfeeding Committee, LSP Constellation

2012-present  Planning Committee, Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference

Practice Activities

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.

Expressions of Care: Milk sharing, interembodiment, and the senses. Plenary, Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference, March 2018, Chapel Hill, NC.

Perinatal Maternal and Child Health in Emergencies: Human Rights, Biocultural, and Life Course Perspectives. High Point University Anthropology Symposium Series, February 2018, High Point, NC.

Cooperative Lactation: Evolutionary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Sharing Human Milk. SWAG Conferences, November 2017, Berkeley, CA.

When Everyday Violence is a Barrier to Breastfeeding: Poverty, Social Suffering, and Infant Feeding in Hawai’i. SWAG Conferences, November 2017, Berkeley, CA.

Commodity or Gift? The Politics of Donor Human Milk in the U.S. SWAG Conferences, November 2017, Berkeley, CA.

Supporting Families in Crisis: Infant Feeding in Disasters and Emergencies. Carolina BEBES University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, September 2017, Chapel Hill, NC.

Cooperative Lactation and the Maternal-Infant Nexus. Wenner-Gren Workshop, Durham University, July 2017, Durham, U.K.

Key Publications

International Handbook on Gender and Demographic Processes, International Handbooks of Population 8. Aunchalee EL Palmquist, Karleen Gribble, N Riley, J Brunson (2018). Springer.

When everyday violence is a barrier to breastfeeding. In P.H. Smith and M. Labbok, Eds., Breastfeeding, Social Justice and Equity. Palmquist AEL (2017). Praeclarus Press.

Breastfeeding: New Anthropological Approaches. C Tomori, A Palmquist, E Quinn, EA Quinn (2017). Routledge.

Advocacy: IBCLCs Advocating for Global Breastfeeding Through Skilled Lactation Support. A Palmquist (2017). Journal of human lactation : official journal of International Lactation Consultant Association, 33(3), 502-503.


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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