Nurturing the Global Child

Women's Group on Maternal Health and Child Health | Image by Pavani K. Ram | University at Buffalo.

Women's Group on Maternal Health and Child Health | Image by Pavani K. Ram | University at Buffalo

Approximately 17,000 children die worldwide every day, 44% of which occur in the first month of life, often from preventable causes. Effective medical, behavioral, and social interventions exist, yet scalability – working across borders and sectors – remains a challenge. To nurture vulnerable children into healthy adulthood, we join global initiatives, such as those led by USAID, helping to deliver effective practices, to mothers, babies, and their caregivers in clinics and at home.

There is an urgent need to develop and scale medical, behavioral, and social interventions to prevent the preventable causes of child mortality. Our team brings together expertise from public health, pediatrics, development and behavioral economics, and the humanities. We are furthering novel and risky ideas to advance child survival: developing portable multimodal imaging for early detection of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy resulting from birth asphyxia and leading to mortality and disability, investigating opportunities to strengthen delivery of pediatric surgical services in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, developing and testing a novel technology to detect heart rate in non-breathing newborns, and unlocking social norms that influence family planning among adolescents.

Our Working Solutions

Identifying needs Testing Options Evaluating Solutions Scaling Up
Nabila Zaka, Emma C. Alexander, Logan Manikam, Irena C. F. Norman, Melika Akhbari, Sarah Moxon, Pavani Kalluri Ram, Georgina Murphy, Mike English, Susan Niermeyer and Luwei Pearson. Quality improvement initiatives for hospitalised small and sick newborns in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. Published in Implementation Science, January 2018
Low height-for-age, or stunting, is a major contributor to childhood mortality globally and is often used as a marker of malnutrition in children. Stunting is most likely to occur in the first 24 months of life, and is characterized by a child having a length-for-age z-score (LAZ), or height-for-age z-score (HAZ), below two standard deviations. Stunted children are more likely to have cognitive delays, face higher rates of mortality, and can have decreased economic productivity in adulthood. Compounding on this, children are at increased risk of stunting if their parents were stunted as children themselves, establishing an intergenerational cycle of decreased economic productivity and increased mortality. Rural regions in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia especially suffer from a high prevalence of stunting in children under the age of 5. 
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring secondhand metabolites produced by molds that contaminate staple crops that populations depend on, like maize, in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, aflatoxin is the most studied mycotoxin, due to the intermittent outbreaks of high aflatoxin exposure that leads to acute aflatoxicosis. Despite this, there is still little research into chronic, low-level aflatoxin exposure during fetal and early-life development and its effects on child growth and stunting.

Our Team

Faculty Fellows

Sara Berkelhamer

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Pediatrics

219 Bryant Street

Phone: 716-878-7673


Elizabeth Borngraber.

Elizabeth Borngraber

Clinical Research Coordinator


Sarah Cairo.

Sarah B Cairo, MD, MPH

Research Fellow

Pediatric Surgery

Ying (Jessica) Cao

Assistant Professor

Division of Health Services Policy and Practice, Epidemiology and Environmental Health

268G-H Farber Hall

Phone: 716-829-5369; Fax: 716-829-2979


Anirban Dutta

Assistant Professor

Biomedical Engineering

215J Bonner Hall

Phone: 716-645-9161


Indranil Goswami

Assistant Professor


215A Jacobs Management Center

Phone: 716-645-5232


Katarzyna Kordas

Co-director, Community for Global Health Equity; Associate Professor; PI of the SAM Study

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

Current interests: chemical mixtures, social-chemical environment interactions, toxicant-diet interactions, child growth and development.

Phone: 716-829-5340; Fax: 716-829-2979


Vasanth Kumar

Clinical Associate Professor


219 Bryant Street

Phone: 716-878-7673


Amy Millen

Associate Professor

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

270 Farber Hall

Phone: 716-829-2975 x733


Ryan Muldoon

Associate Professor

Department of Philosophy

107 Park Hall University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY 14260-4150


Shaanta Murshid

Associate Professor

Department School of Social Work

Baldy Hall

Phone: 716-645-3381


Ekaterina (Katia) Noyes

Director, MPH Concentration in Health Services Administration; Professor and Director, Division of Health Services Policy and Practice

Epidemiology and Environmental Health

270C Farber Hall

Phone: 716-829-5386


Tia Palermo

Associate Professor

Division of Health Services Policy and Practice, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

268F Farber Hall

Phone: 716-829-2979


Pavani Ram

Founding Co-lead, Community for Global Health Equity

David H. Rothstein

Associate Professor

Department of Surgery

219 Bryant St

Phone: 718-878-7301


Sanjay Sethi

Professor and Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine


3495 Bailey Avenue

Phone: 716-862-7875


Laura Smith

Co-Lead Early Life Exposome Team; Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Environmental Health and Community for Global Health Equity

Enki Yoo

Associate Professor

Department of Geography

121 Wilkeson Quad

Phone: 716-645-0476


Our work is done in collaboration with many talented community partners. We list these partners on the affiliated project pages.