Britteny M. Howell, PhD

bmho228's picture
  • Research & Development - Hope Community Resources
  • Anthropology Instructor - Northern Kentucky University
  • Anthropology
  • Behavioral Science
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

ABD, Anthropology, University of Kentucky
2007, M.A. Anthropology, University of Cincinnati
2005, B.S. Anthropology, Central Michigan University
2003, Social Anthropology Honours Program, University of Edinburgh, Scotland


I am from Dearborn, Michigan and have lived and worked in many places including Anchorage, AK; Acari, Peru; Appollonia, Albania; and, Cincinnati, OH.

After receiving my Master's in bioarchaeology from the University of Cincinnati, I took 4 years off from school to teach introductory anthropology courses and to work as a program evaluator at a major area children's hospital. Now, my work with health and nutrition is largely based in two disparate locations: Appalachian Kentucky and urban Alaska. I currently live and work in Anchorage, AK.


  • 2014 James VanStone Advanced Graduate Student Award, Alaska Anthropological Association.
  • 2013- 2014 National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, $26,500.
  • 2013 American Anthropological Association, Leslie A. White Award, $500.
  • 2011 Golden Key International Honours Society for Graduate Students
  • 2010-2013 Member, Editorial Board of the Contemporary Journal of Anthropology and Sociology
  • 2010-2013 Graduate Research Assistantship, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky
  • 2010-2013 Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship, University of Kentucky
  • 2007 Graduate Poster Forum Outstanding Poster Presentation, Human Decapitation at Amato, Peru, University of Cincinnati
  • 2006  Charles Phelps Taft Graduate Enrichment Grant, University of Cincinnati
  • 2006 Global Studies Grant, University of Cincinnati
  • 2005-2007 University Graduate Scholarship, University of Cincinnati
  • 2000-2004 Michigan Competitive Scholarship
  • 2002-2003 Leslie Lieberman Scholarship for Anthropology, Central Michigan University

Professional Associations

  • Society for Applied Anthropology
  • International Arctic Social Sciences Association
  • Lambda Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society – Gamma of Kentucky Chapter (lifetime faculty member)
  • ALaska Public Health Association
  • Anthropologists and Sociologists of Kentucky
  • Southern Anthropological Society
  • Appalachian Studies Association
  • Kentucky Academy of Science
  • Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA)

Associated Websites 

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

National Resource Center for American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Elders

Faith Moves Mountains


As a biological anthropologist, I research the interaction between human biology and cultural practices. Utilizing a biocultural framework incorporating human adaptability and political economy, I am interested in the relationship between humans and their environments and how this relationship affects biological outcomes. For example, I seek to problematize the nutrition transition concept through research into the multiple pathways that shape biological outcomes in complex environments experiencing resource constraints. These pathways include socioeconomic and environmental influences as well as individual strategies and priorities that people develop to cope with stressful environments. Currently, I study how indigenous North American populations articulate and navigate changing ecological, political, and socioeconomic environments as measured by such biological indicators as physical activity patterns, dietary intake, and nutritional status, such as overweight and obesity. Through past work among rural residents of Appalachian Kentucky and current work with Alaska Natives, I seek to understand how political-economic forces limit resources and access to healthy lifestyles.

I have recently worked on a community-based participatory research (CBPR) Faith Moves Mountains (PI Dr. Nancy Schoenberg, funded by the National Institutes of Health) project in Eastern Kentucky. The various health intervention programs within this project include smoking cessation, cancer screening, and a health promotion program which seeks to increase fruit and vegetable intake & increase physical activity. Other ast health research includes a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to assess the accuracy, feasibility, and cultural acceptability of various physical activity measures among rural Appalachians, including self-report, pedometers, and accelerometers. I conducted survey research in Martin County, Kentucky on an environmental impact follow-up study to the coal sludge spill in 2000. I have also conducted various program evaluations through my past work at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, including a Photovoice evaluation of a home visitation program and work on the institution's Quality Improvement Science training through a Robert Woods Johnson Foundation grant.

I currently work for the State of Alaska in the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disability Services. I teach online anthropology classes at two Kentucky universities.In addition to a number of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews recently published, I also serve on a number of journal editorial boards, including Contemporary Journal of Anthropology and Sociology, Student Anthropologist, and Anthropologies. Past manuscript reviews include Disability and Rehabilitation, Journal of Contemprary Anthropology, The Oral History Review, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

Graduate Training

Doctoral Candidate, biocultural anthropology, University of Kentucky

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