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CSDE Research Affiliate

Bettina Shell-Duncan

Professor, Anthropology
University of Washington
Tel: 206-543-9607

In the News:

Throughout her career, Bettina Shell-Duncan has been conducting mixed method biocultural research on maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa. Her earlier research focus was on nutrition, immunity and morbidity among nomadic children in Kenya, the health effects of settlement of former nomads. More recently, her research has focuses on the study of female genital cutting (FGC). She has examined the cultural context and health consequences of FGC among Rendille women in northern Kenya, as well as debates over medicalization of the practice. Through her work with WHO and UNICEF, Bettina has examined the politics of the international campaign to end FGC, and the implication of adopting a health and human rights framework. She has recently been conducting mixed method research on the theoretical and empirical dimensions of the dynamics of behavior change with respect to FGC in Senegal and The Gambia. This work examines the outcome of various strategies aimed at ending FGC, such as legislation and various community-based interventions, and evaluates their correspondence with leading theories of behavior change. She has recently become involved in an international research consortium, funded for 5 years by the U.K.'s Department of International Development, that will investigate factors influencing decision-making regarding FGC and intervention strategies in 6 African countries.