Allison Cantor

I am a Medical Anthropologist (Ph.D./M.A.)(University of South Florida/University of Nevada Las Vegas) and Public Health Specialist (M.P.H.)(University of South Florida) with research interests in reproductive health, obstetric violence, food insecurity and nutrition, and community-based approaches to research. I have conducted research in the U.S., Costa Rica, and Peru. Currently, I am a research affiliate and internship advisor with the Monteverde Institute and Adjunct Assistant College Professor at New Mexico State University.

My book, Tourism and Maternal Health: Customs, Beliefs, and Everyday Practices, uses an ethnographic and practice-oriented approach to assess prenatal nutrition in a rural region of Costa Rica experiencing a nutrition transition. Within this population, culture plays a protective role regarding food insecurity and overall nutrition in the context of shifting food landscapes. This is particularly relevant to understanding global health, as today’s world is increasingly homogenizing. This finding emphasizes the importance of cultural practices in maintaining health and wellbeing.

My current project explores environmental practices among rural smallholders living inside a Costa Rican conservation area, the Bellbird Biological Corridor. This work explores the dynamic dialectic between conservation strategies, ecotourism, and external stressors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Most recently, I have taken a leadership role on the COVID-19 emergency response team in Monteverde, Costa Rica as the Co-coordinator for the Statistics and Census Sub-commission. I was the lead analyst for a household survey (n=1050) with the goal of identifying vulnerable populations, such as food insecure households and those experiencing negative health impacts as a result of the pandemic.

My work on the health effects of the changing food environment in Latin America in published in various peer-reviewed journals, including Food and Foodways, Ecology of Food and Nutrition and Physiology and Behavior and my research on maternal health has been published in the Florida Public Health Review, Maternal and Child Health, and the Journal of Perinatology.

Learn more at

Contact Allison at allisoncantor ”at” gmail [dot] com