Monica Keith

Postdoctoral Scholar, Anthropology


As an anthropologist, I research biocultural variation in health disparities and child growth outcomes across diverse populations. I develop Bayesian models to make data-driven inferences and am currently working with longitudinal data from Argentina, Bangladesh, Dominica, and the US to address concerns and disparities in maternal health, pregnancy outcomes, infant and child growth, disease ecologies, and cardiometabolic health. I utilize linear, non-linear, mixed-effects, and multivariate Bayesian models to assess effects of specific biocultural predictors, and I design structural equation models to make causal inferences that distinguish behavioral, social, and environmental factors from biological mechanisms.

My anthropological training informs my approach to contextualize health outcomes within local environments and across the human life course, and modeling longitudinal, inter-generational data allows me to assess connections between child growth and nutrition, later cardiometabolic health and other morbidities, reproductive ecologies, and maternal/infant health outcomes. My current projects include evaluating how women’s economic trading activities impact disease ecologies in a Bangladeshi fishing community, assessing growth and nutritional impacts of severe climate-induced flooding among the same community, modeling impacts of birth mode and breastfeeding on child growth trajectories, and testing causal predictions about social determinants of maternal health in the US as they are mediated through clinically diagnostic biomarkers of stress and allostatic load.