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Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, IBCLC

Assistant Professor Maternal and Child Health, Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute

T:(919) 966-0928


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.

Research Activities

Medical anthropology
Breastfeeding and human lactation
Global maternal-child perinatal health
Health disparities
Human milk sharing and milk banking
Infant and young child feeding in emergencies;
Ethnographic, qualitative, and mixed methods researc

Key Publications

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.

Expanding the supply of pasteurized donor human milk: Why don’t peer-to-peer milk sharing donors donate to milk banks? Perrin MT, Goodell LS, Fogleman AD, Pettus H, Bodenheimer A, and Palmquist AEL  (2016). Journal of Human Lactation, 32(2), 229-37.

Human milk sharing practices in the U.S. Palmquist AEL, Doehler K  (2016). Maternal and Child Nutrition, 12(2), 278-90.

Contextualizing online human milk sharing: structural factors and lactation disparity among middle income women in the United States. Palmquist AEL, Doehler K (2014). Social Science & Medicine, 122.

Demedicalizing breast milk: the discourses, practices, and identities of informal milk sharing. In T. Cassidy and A. El-Tom, Eds. Ethnographies of Breastfeeding: Cultural Contexts and Confrontations. Palmquist AEL  (2014). Bloomsbury Press.


PhD, Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Manoa, 2006

MA, Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Manoa, 1997

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