MV062 MV063 etcPRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Jessica Diehl holds a PhD in Health and Behavioral Sciences.  She completed her dissertation research in Delhi, India as a 2013-2014 Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellow affiliated with the School of Human Ecology at Ambedkar University Delhi.  She holds a dual degree BLA/MLA in Landscape Architecture from The Pennsylvania State University and a BA in English: Creative Writing from West Virginia Wesleyan College.  Her dissertation research explored how social networks of a community of urban farmers in Delhi impact their livelihood adaptation strategies in response to urban development pressures.  Social equity and community engagement are essential components of sustainable urban planning and development but can be challenging to achieve.  This research provides insight from the ground-up into how social dynamics within a community impact community engagement and empowerment.  She is an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, contact her at


John Brett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Denver.  His research is focused on sustainable livelihoods and microfinance in Bolivia, dietary decision-making, and urban food systems and sustainability.  His just-finished project examines the relationship between food security, access to health resources and participation in microfinance programs, funded by the Fulbright Scholars program and in collaboration with CRECER and Freedom from Hunger with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  He has done research on medicinal plant use in Chiapas, Mexico, conducted a number of large scale evaluation projects on HIV education programs in the US, Native American history in relation to Rocky Mountain National Park, and a multi-year ethnographic study on the factors that influence diet and physical activity patterns in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.  His current research examines the host of food system “alternatives” emerging in urban areas and how they might, or might not create an alternative food system.  He received his PhD in the Joint Program in Medical Anthropology at the University of California San Francisco and UC Berkeley.

Dr. Debbi Main’s personal research centers on understanding and measuring the influence of social and structural factors on health and health care in two key areas: (1) understanding the influence of structures and processes on the quality and outcomes of medical care and (2) understanding the influence of built and social environments on health and health disparities. The majority of her current research involves a large-scale, five-neighborhood community based participatory research (CBPR) initiative in the Denver metropolitan area, called Taking Neighborhood Health to Heart. Through funding from National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation and others, Dr. Main and her community and academic collaborators have collected and analyzed comprehensive data on the health of people and neighborhoods, contributing new theoretical and methodological knowledge on the influence of built and social environments on health and health disparities and disseminating in-depth information throughout communities to identify contextually relevant programs, policies and environmental changes to improve neighborhood health.

Kate Oviatt is an NSF-IGERT fellow at the University of Colorado Denver, Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Systems, and is a PhD candidate in the Health and Behavioral Sciences program.  She received both a BA and MA in anthropology, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and University of Colorado Denver, respectively.  Kate is a 2014-2015 Fulbright Research Fellow conducting her dissertation research in Quito, Ecuador.  She has been working with urban farmers in Quito to explore how the practice of urban agriculture can facilitate individual and collective empowerment.  Empowerment is a development buzzword that is often used by advocates of urban agriculture, yet little research has been done to understand how urban agriculture actually contributes to empowerment.  Kate is working with urban farmers to understand how participation in urban agriculture has changed individual’s capabilities, identity, and beliefs, as well as identify how urban farmers work collectively to support the practice of urban agriculture.  If you have any questions about Kate’s research.  Contact her at


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