Assistant Professor of Anthropology
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Professor Gildner’s research program is motivated by a strong interest in addressing health inequities. Her work broadly focuses on the identification of social heath determinants, examining the effects of living conditions and the environment on disease risk. She is especially concerned with factors that influence parasitic disease, an underappreciated global health crisis that particularly affects BIPOC communities. Gildner’s research focuses on soil-transmitted helminths, parasitic worms that infect more than a quarter of the global population (with children exhibiting the highest infection rates). She is currently studying infection patterns among Indigenous Shuar of Amazonian Ecuador. Infection patterns documented in this project have been used by Shuar officials to advocate for improved healthcare programs and presented to participant communities as educational material designed to prevent future disease. More recently, Professor Gildner launched a collaborative project exploring parasite infection rates in the American South and testing how these infections impact child health, primarily within communities of color. High infection rates have been documented historically in the Southern U.S., but little work has examined these patterns in the last three decades.