May 26, 2023

Assistant Professor Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist will be moving to a position as an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Duke Global Health Institute beginning in July 2023.

Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, MA, IBCLC

“Aunchalee has served as a model faculty member and colleague for our school, department, and institute,” said Catherine Sullivan, Director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute. “She has continuously demonstrated excellence in teaching and scholarly activity. We are proud of all she has accomplished during her time at CGBI and UNC, and we look forward to continued collaboration. Our team is feeling this deeply, but we know she will forever be a part of the CGBI family.”

A proud Thai-American medical anthropologist, feminist ethnographer, and human lactation researcher, Aunchalee joined the Department of Maternal and Child Health as an assistant professor in 2017. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), she is also an affiliate of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) and has taught courses about infant feeding during international humanitarian emergencies and a Breastfeeding and Global Health Seminar.

Aunchalee received a Gillings Faculty Award for Excellence in Health Equity Research in 2021 and a Teaching Innovation Award in 2020 and 2023.

“This is, of course, a huge loss for the department, as Aunchalee has made major contributions to our teaching, research, and practice missions,” said Carolyn T. Halpern, chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at Gillings. “She is loved and respected throughout the Gillings School by students, staff, and faculty. Happily, however, Aunchalee will maintain linkages to the MCH department via an adjunct faculty appointment.  I wish her the very best in her new work.”

“We are proud of all she has accomplished during her time at CGBI and UNC.”

At CGBI, Aunchalee addressed human milk banking, maternal-child perinatal health disparities, and infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E). During the pandemic, she created the Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies (L.I.F.E.TM) Support for COVID-19 resource, a “hub for research, technical assistance, health communications, policy, advocacy, and training for infant and young child feeding in emergencies.”

A busy scholar, she has published in many academic journals, including Journal of Human Lactation, Breastfeeding Medicine, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Social Science & Medicine, Health Equity, American Journal of Human Biology, and Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

Aunchalee Palmquist teaching MRT-TI class

Aunchalee Palmquist teaching MRT-TI class

Aunchalee has also been featured online in National Journal, The New York Times, Slate, Healthline, and The Wire, as well as participated in speaking engagements and podcasts with U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, California Preterm Birth Initiative, New York Academy of Sciences Distinguished Lecture Series, and Embodied Radio Show.

Aunchalee has served as an International Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA) liaison to the United Nations advocating for global breastfeeding policy and co-represented CGBI in the WHO/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective. Her global breastfeeding advocacy includes representing CGBI in the Emergency Nutrition Network IFE Core Group and the United States Breastfeeding Committee.

Robert A. Poarch


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Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
Department of Maternal and Child Health
135 Dauer Drive
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Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445