CHÉOS is excited to welcome our newest Scientist, Dr. Annalijn Conklin. Dr. Conklin holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, a Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh. She is a newly appointed Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC.
Dr. Conklin’s research focuses on the relative contribution and relationships between of socioeconomic status, financial hardship, and social ties in determining healthy eating and weight.She has also contributed to a number of publications assessing and evaluating various aspects of chronic disease management and care in the UK and Europe.
Much of Dr. Conklin’s work has focused on gender-specific effects on health determinants. “I think contributing a gendered focus to the research at CHÉOS, and novel ways to look at social determinants, is where I can add value,” she said.
“What I’m really looking forward to as a new CHÉOS Scientist is the potential for collaboration in a number of different areas. The possibilities are really exciting.”
Her current work focuses on the interaction between social policy, food prices, and health outcomes in women in developing countries. “The effect of these factors and the interaction between them is not the same across all women,” she noted. “When you start to look at the distribution of these relationships, they are dependent on things like education and type of employment.”
“I’m driven by a policy interest to better prevent and better manage chronic conditions,” she said, when asked about the motivation behind her work.
By understanding the social and economic factors that lead to better, or worse, health outcomes, we can better design interventions that address those determinants, she added.
“A lot of people’s health is driven by factors outside the health care system,” she said. “Having a health care system that doesn’t address those factors is just scratching at the surface.”
Dr. Conklin’s work as a researcher, consultant, and analyst with the RAND Corporation, a policy-focused organization, has given her important perspectives on the interaction between policy and research. “Having non-academic experience is another area where I can add value,” she noted.
Dr. Conklin is also the first presenter of 2017 for the CHÉOS Work in Progress seminar series. Her talk on January 18 will explore the interactions between dietary diversity, cost, and diabetes and will explore findings reported in PLoS Medicine last year.
“Dietary guidelines are very clear about the importance of the five different food groups but do little to emphasize diversity within those food groups,” she said. “I wanted to explore this concept of variety in terms of food group and food subtype.”
This novel approach to stratifying nutrition into subgroups and analyzing their effects has unearthed some interesting results.