Global Health

Brave Women Initiative (BWI)

The Brave Women Initiative is named after the Gunna Rucaalu (“brave women”) collective, led by Zapotec feminist activists working in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to secure health equity for Indigenous adolescent girls. Building on the work with the Gunna Rucaalu collective, BWI is a global justice initiative that empowers women-led coalitions working to eradicate gender-based violence to pursue structural change in underserved regions in Low and Middle-Income countries (LMCs). BWI leverages innovative participatory research models focused on structural justice to coordinate structural resource transfers from institutions of higher learning to underserved communities. Its mission is to help violence prevention and survivor-led organizations build stronger, more effective, and resilient organizations that meet the needs of marginalized communities impacted by gender-based violence, and to increase democratic participation in knowledge production about women’s lives and needs in response to violence. Through RISC, organizations receive critical research infrastructure development support that strengthens evidence-based programming that address the root causes of injustice, including in violence prevention and outreach, critical sexuality education, reproductive rights access, preventive prenatal care access, youth inequality, community based and Indigenous methodologies, disability justice, and trauma-informed responses to gender-based violence. 

Decolonizing Nutrition Education

Culturally relevant nutrition education has steadily improved in the last decades, yet important barriers in access, reach, and support systems still remain. While researchers in food justice, community food security, and food sovereignty have highlighted the success of culturally relevant food programs, such as heritage seed programs for revitalizing Indigenous foodways, the lasting impact of ruptures to Indigenous food systems following European colonization remains largely unaddressed by non-Indigenous scholars citing the success of these programs. In particular, the long-lasting epigenetic and immunological impact of these ruptures (at the level of populations) remains underemphasized. One area of nutrition education in urgent need of attention for the negative health consequences of colonization is infancy and early childhood nutrition education (including health promotion in human lactation, early complementary feeding, and infant growth and development education). This project addresses the continued influence of European colonization in infant nutrition and global health standards for lactating people. It examines the effects of these standards on infant growth and development and analyzes historical evidence that correlates stunting (delays in infant growth) and developmental delays with larger patterns of systemic violence against Indigenous peoples. 

Ethics in Global Health Research Working Group

The Ethics in Global Health Research Working Group is an interdisciplinary group of researchers at Michigan State University who are building a framework for conducting leading-edge work in global health equity within a structural justice and intersectional ethics context.  It draws on the gains in critical approaches to Participatory Action Research (PAR) and extends these approaches to structural justice work and practitioner-researcher interactions in collaborative research. 

Gender, Climate Justice, and Development 

Gender, Climate Justice, and Development uses the framework of intersectional environmentalism–which incorporates racial justice, gender justice, Indigenous sovereignty, and disability justice, with environmental justice–to address issues in global development that disproportionately impact women and girls in the global south. It supports women activists and organizations working at the frontlines of environmental justice in development projects.