Valerie Flax, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Nutrition
2217-A McGavran-Greenberg Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. Flax’s research focuses on the design and evaluation of behavioral and food-based interventions intended to improve the health and nutritional status of mothers and children in low-income countries. She is trained in cultural anthropology and epidemiology and uses both qualitative and quantitative methods in her work. Dr. Flax is testing interventions that integrate group counseling and cell phone messaging on infant and young child feeding practices into existing women’s microfinance programs in Nigeria and Malawi. She examines the effects of antiretroviral drugs and nutritional supplementation on the health and nutritional status of HIV-infected mothers and their infants. Dr. Flax works with MEASURE Evaluation to evaluate the use of a quality improvement approach to roll out new international guidelines on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in four African countries. She is also involved in the impact evaluation of Feed the Future’s integrated nutrition and value chain program in Malawi.

Representative Courses

NUTR 809: Qualitative Research Methods for Nutrition

Research Activities

Infant and young child feeding

Global health

Health behavior


Impact Evaluation


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Nutrition, UNC-Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center, 2012
  • PhD, Epidemiology, University of Tampere, 2010
  • MPH, Health Behavior & Health Education, UNC Chapel Hill, 1996
  • B.A., Anthropology, Wesleyan University, 1989