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Global Health & Environment



Professor Ken Conca's research and teaching focus on global environmental governance, environmental peacebuilding in war-torn societies, environmental politics and policy in the United Nations system, and international water policy. He is the author and editor of several books on international environmental politics, including Governing Water, Confronting Consumption, Environmental Peacemaking, and the widely used teaching anthology Green Planet Blues. Conca received external funding from the United States Institute of Peace in 2012 to convene representatives of multilateral organizations, NGOs, the private sector and government to examine the risks of environmental degradation during post-disaster recovery and alternatives for green recovery and reconstruction. Other current projects include editing The Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Policy (Oxford University Press, in preparation) and a book project on the role of peacebuilding and human rights in strengthening global environmental governance through the UN system. Conca is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Expert Advisory Group on Environment, Conflict and Peacebuilding and served for several years as associate editor of the journal Global Environmental Politics.Click here for more info.



Assistant Professor Maria De Jesus specializes in the area of health inequalities, with a particular focus on cross-cultural communication and health promotion. She is interested in how ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and migration status interact to affect health outcomes as well as the impact of cross-cultural communication and relationship building in the work of community health workers. In 2012, De Jesus was awarded a grant from the District of Columbia's Developmental Center for AIDS Research to study and design enhancements to HIV/AIDS prevention messaging to populations of African immigrant women in the District of Columbia. Also, at present, De Jesus is collaborating with Assistant Professor Nina Yamanis on an examination of Latino men in the District of Columbia, the second-largest population group afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Washington. Their joint project will lay the groundwork for a future intervention project aimed at decreasing the rate of HIV transmission among Latino men. In recent years, her research has been published in Ethnicity & Health, Health Communication, Intercultural Management Quarterly, Policy and Internet, Journal of Oncology, Journal of Religion and Health, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Health & Place, and Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. Click here for more info.



Assistant Professor Daniel Esser's research examines governance and program evaluation in fragile settings, in particular in the context of institution-building in cities in the Global South and resulting frictions between local and international interests and approaches. He also investigates issue prioritization and policy emergence in development assistance for health. He recently returned from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico where he conducted externally funded research on the drivers of resilience among local residents during periods of extreme violence. He has led similar research projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sierra Leone. In addition, Esser conducts research on agenda-setting, policy emergence and funding prioritization in global health. His research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the Rockefeller Foundation. Additionally, his current projects investigate causes of inefficiency and ineffectiveness in development assistance in support of addressing challenges resulting from aging populations in the Global South, as well as the political economy of country ownership in the context of HIV prevention campaigns and AIDS treatment programs. He has published on related topics in leading scholarly journals such as World Development, Global Public Health, and Ethics & International Affairs. Click here for more info.



Assistant Professor Garrett Graddy is a cultural and political geographer, researching the political ecologies and political economies of food and agriculture. She is currently writing a book on in situ agricultural biodiversity initiatives in the Peruvian Andes and Appalachian United States, contextualizing such grassroots conservation within larger goals of community food security in an era of global climate change and the regeneration of what is alternately called ‘traditional’ or place-based ecological and agrarian knowledge. The book explores related international policies on food security, agrobiodiversity conservation, genetic intellectual property, and agribiotechnology research-funding and regulations. This research also engages post-colonial theory and the interplay of gender, labor, and agricultural cooperatives in Peru, the United States, and Cuba. Click here for more info.



Assistant Professor Sikina Jinnah's research focuses on the changing dynamics of power and influence in global environmental politics. Recently, she has examined the role of international bureaucracies in managing the politics of overlapping international regimes in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, and international trade. Her most recent work explores the diffusion of environmental policy through US and EU bilateral and regional trade agreements. She has published in Global Environmental Politics, Science Magazine and Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, among others, and is presently finishing her book manuscript, with MIT Press as the publisher. Click here for more info.



Assistant Professor Simon Nicholson's research and teaching interests focus on the politics of food and agriculture, global environmental and energy politics, and issues to do with emerging technologies. Ongoing research projects include work on global fisheries, genetically modified foods, the character of effective scholarship in a world increasingly stressed by environmental harm, and tackling climate change via large-scale technological interventions. His academic and policy-oriented writing has appeared in such journals as Global Environmental Politics, Foreign Policy, and Sustainable Development Law and Policy, as well as in a number of edited books. He has previously received funding from the Academic Council on the United Nations System, the Oikos Foundation, and Fulbright. Click here for more info.



Assistant Professor Malini Ranganathan was previously a post-doctoral fellow in the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy strategic initiative at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign's Beckman Institute. A product of the PhD program from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, her research interests sit at the intersection of political ecology, urban geography, and cultural anthropology and encompass three main thematic areas: the political economy of market-oriented urban water reforms, collective action and the everyday state, and chronic flood vulnerability at the peri-urban interface. Ranganathan previously worked at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, the Asian Development Bank in Manila, ENDA-Tiers Monde in Dakar, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat. Click here for more info.



Associate Professor Rachel Robinson is a sociologist and demographer whose research focuses on African countries’ health policies and programs as well as the emergence and impacts of local reproductive health NGOs. She has extensive experience conducting research in Nigeria, Senegal, and Malawi, focusing in particular on in-depth interviews with representatives of federal ministries, donor organizations, and local NGOs, and conducting analyses of government and organizational documents. Robinson is presently working with SPA Associate Professor Jeremy Shiffman on a grant supported by the MacArthur Foundation that will investigate the factors that explain differences in adoption of sexuality across geographic areas, paying particular attention to the strategies of proponents. They will focus on the political aspects of this research, including negotiations between key social and political actors, rather than the technical aspects of implementation, through studies across different administrative levels in Nigeria. As part of their research, they will compare sexuality education efforts in Lagos, Nigeria, where scaling-up initiatives have advanced the furthest in the country, with that of Mississippi, where the majority of school districts have chosen an abstinence-only strategy. Her work has been published in Demography, Journal of the International AIDS Society, Population Research and Policy Review, and Population Studies, and she is currently completing a book on the relationship between family planning and HIV/AIDS interventions in sub-Saharan Africa, under review at Cambridge University Press. Click here for more info.



Professor Paul Wapner’s research focuses on global environmental politics, environmental thought, transnational environmental activism, and environmental ethics. At present, he is studying individual and group suffering related to climate change around the world. His most-recent book is titled Living Through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism.Click here for more info.



Assistant Professor Nina Yamanis’s research focuses on improving the health and well-being of underserved populations in developing countries. She specializes in understanding and targeting the social determinants of HIV risk and relationship violence, evaluating and implementing novel methods for reaching hidden and vulnerable populations such as men who have sex with men, and developing multi-level interventions that improve health behaviors. She has conducted qualitative and quantitative field research for the past six years on the social and sexual networks of young, urban men in Tanzania and their influence on the men’s HIV risk behavior. She is a co-principal investigator on a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health that will evaluate the effects of a microfinance and peer leadership intervention to reduce sexually transmitted infections (STI) incidence, sexual risk behavior and relationship violence for young urban Tanzanian men. Also at present, Yamanis is collaborating with Assistant Professor Maria De Jesus on an examination of Latino men in the District of Columbia, the second-largest population group afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Washington. Their joint project will lay the groundwork for a future intervention project aimed at decreasing the rate of HIV transmission among Latino men. She was also recently awarded a grant from the District of Columbia's Developmental Center for AIDS Research to examine the social context of risk, identity and service use among black adolescent young men in Washington, the largest population group afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Washington. Click here for more info.