#IAmNYAS: Paul Hewett, PhD
Published June 29, 2018
Researchers are working to improve nutrition and dietary choices for people around the globe. But determining how to help a given group of people has a lot to do the specific factors that impact their daily lives, things like economic status, social norms, and access to healthy food. That’s why researchers like Academy Member Paul Hewett, PhD, are looking at very specific groups of people in order to understand how they make nutritional choices. Learn more about him and his research below.
What is the focus of your current research?
I’m looking at the impact of an educational and empowerment program targeting vulnerable adolescent girls in Zambia. One area of interest is assessing how adolescent programming can improve nutritional outcomes in terms of dietary intake, anemia, and physical development.
Why did you decide to pursue this specific line of inquiry?
The Population Council [my employer] is an organization whose mission is to improve the lives and well-being of adolescent girls and young women. Given the gaps in health outcomes for this population, it is critical that the research community direct its efforts to these topics.
In what ways do you think your research will be useful to society?
Adding to the evidence base is critical, but also it is important that the information and recommendations from our work be translated into programs and policies that are directed toward adolescent nutrition. We hope our work on this topic contributes to the Council’s goal of impact, particularly in the local settings in which we are working.
How did support from our Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science impact this project?
The funding we received has expanded the scope of our assessment, allowing us to take a deeper dive into the intersection between work, schooling and employment, and nutrition. This has enhanced the impact of our work, but also added to the evidence base for adolescent nutrition.
Who are your biggest science inspirations?
My mentors at the Population Council: Barbara S. Mensch, Cynthia Lloyd and others, the work of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and the University of Pennsylvania’s Population Studies Center.
Supporting and convening researchers looking at women’s health and nutrition has long been a focus for the Academy. Read one of our latest eBriefings on the topic here: Improving Women’s Health: HIV, Contraception, Cervical Cancer, and Schistosomiasis