October 21, 2021

Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist

Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist

Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, MA, IBCLC, assistant professor of maternal and child health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Gillings Faculty Award for Excellence in Health Equity Research.

The Gillings Health Equity Faculty Research Award recognizes faculty who demonstrate excellence in research that has made a substantial impact on improved equitable outcomes or sustained reduction in inequities in a pressing public health issue.

Palmquist fully embodies the intent of the award through her work to address the intersectionality of perinatal maternal, newborn and young child health disparities globally and in the United States, with an emphasis on breastfeeding. Her focus on reproductive rights and humanitarian emergencies uses a combination of community-based participatory research, ethnographic methods and mixed-methods approaches. Her scholarship and practice are informed by human rights-based approaches and a reproductive justice lens.

Palmquist has been an assistant professor of maternal and child health at the Gillings School since 2017 and is lead for the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies (L.I.F.E.™) Initiative. She serves as a CGBI representative on the World Health Organization/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective, the Emergency Nutrition Network Infant Feeding in Emergencies Core Group and the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee as co-steward of the COVID-19 Infant and Young Child Feeding Constellation. Palmquist has previously served as an International Lactation Consultants Association liaison to the United Nations.

Jeffrey Simms, MSPH, interim associate dean for Inclusive Excellence and assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, stated, ”Dr. Palmquist’s work related to health equity and antiracism in the areas of reproductive justice and humanitarian research aligns closely with the Gillings School’s Inclusive Excellence Action Plan. Additionally, the course she teaches on decolonizing maternal and child health research and cultural humility equips our students to be major change agents in regards to health equity. Dr. Palmquist is well-deserving of the Gillings Health Equity Research Award.”

“During the pandemic and in periods of national and local emergencies, Dr. Pamquist’s research informs us about the threats to vulnerable populations and what can be done about them,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, Alumni Distinguished Professor and dean of the Gillings School. “She contributes to human health by uncovering problems and applying solutions.”

Palmquist will receive her award during University Research Week in a session titled “Advancing Health Equity Solutions at UNC,” co-sponsored by the Gillings School, the Center for Health Equity Research and the Institute of African American Research on Nov. 12 from 3-4 p.m. Palmquist will give a presentation, followed by presentations from Tonia Poteat, PhD, PA-C, MPH, from the Department of Social Medicine, and Taylor Hargrove, PhD, from the Department of Sociology.

Register to attend the Advancing Health Equity Solutions at UNC event.

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