Aunchalee E. L. Palmquist, PhD, MA, IBCLC

Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Maternal and Child Health


Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Duke Global Health Institute with a secondary appointment in Cultural Anthropology. Prior to joining DGHI, Dr. Palmquist was an Assistant Professor at the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute.

Aunchalee Palmquist in the Gillings News

Honors and Awards

Teaching Innovation Award
2023, Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Management Award
2022, Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative

Faculty Award for Excellence in Health Equity Research
2021, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Research Fellow
2021, Center for New North Carolinians, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Delta Omega, Theta Chapter, Faculty Inductee
2021, Gillings School Global Public Health

Representative Courses

GLHLTH 571. Global Maternal and Child Health (Duke University)

GLHLTH 700. Global Health Field Research: Planning and Skill Development (Duke University)

GLHLTH 701. Global Health Challenges (Duke University)

Research Activities

Dr. Palmquist is a health equity scholar, feminist ethnographer, and internationally recognized breastfeeding and human lactation researcher. Her scholarship bridges biocultural medical anthropology and global health. Inspired by feminist anthropology, Indigenous methodologies, bioethics, and human rights frameworks, she uses research to uncover root causes of health inequities and to imagine new directions for policy, practice, and advocacy. Dr. Palmquist has over 20 years of experience conducting ethnographic, mixed-methods, and community-based participatory research and collaborates on interdisciplinary research with scholars from around the world.

Service Activities

2024-2025 Technical Advisory Group, IYCF-E Frontline Worker Curriculum Save the Children (Global)

2023-present Advisor on Gender, Global Nutrition Cluster Technical Alliance

2021-2023 Infant Feeding in Emergencies Research Repository, Emergency Nutrition Network Infant Feeding in Emergencies (IFE) Core Group

2024 North Carolina Global Health Alliance

2021-2023 Invited Member, HMBANA Donor Milk Health Equity Task Force.

2022-2023 Member, Gillings Global Practice Working Group

2021-2023 Instructor, Gillings on the Ground, Disaster Response Training Programs

2020-2023 MCH representative, Gillings School Global Education Advisory Committee

2019-2023 Faculty Advisor, Humanitarian Health Initiative, Gillings School for Global Public Health, UNC- Chapel Hill

Key Publications

Innovations in Virtual Care. In Cilenti, D., Castrucci, B., Hernandez, N., Jackson, A., Michener, JL, Verbiest, S (Eds). Practical Playbook III: Working Together to Improve Maternal Health. deRosset L., Neeley H, & Palmquist AEL+ (2024). Oxford University Press: Oxford.

A call to action: Person-centered care aligned with reproductive justice for incarcerated pregnant people with substance use disorders. Hairston E, Palmquist AEL, Knittel A, Mensah-Biney K, Mack A, Hayes C, Mack A, and Jones HE (2023). Archives in Neurology & Neuroscience, 15(4).

Biocultural lactation: integrated approaches to studying lactation within and beyond anthropology. Quinn EA, Palmquist AEL, Tomori C (2023). Annual Reviews in Anthropology, 52.

Perinatal care and breastfeeding education during the COVID-19 pandemic: perspectives from Kenyan mothers and healthcare workers. Ickes S, Lemein H, Arensen K, Kinyua J, Denmo DM, Walson JL, Martin S, Nduati R, and Palmquist AEL+  (2023). Maternal and Child Nutrition, e13500.

An equitable, community-engaged translational framework for science in human lactation and infant feeding – a report from Breastmilk Ecology and the Genesis of Infant Nutrition (BEGIN) Working Group 5. Jarvis K, Nommsen-Rivers L, Black MM, Christian P, Groh-Wargo S, Heinig J, Israel-Ballard K, Obbagy J, Palmquist AEL, Stuebe A, Merlino Barr S, Proaño GV, Steiber A, and Raiten DJ  (2023). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 117 Suppl 1((Suppl1)), S87-S105.

Maternal perceptions of human milk expression output: an experimental design using photographs of milk. Quinn EA, Sobonya S, and Palmquist AEL+ (2023). Social Science & Medicine, 324(115871 [Online ahead of print]).


  • PhD, Medical Anthropology, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, 2006
  • MA, Anthropology, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, 1997
  • BA, Anthropology, University of Louisville, Louisville KY, 1994