Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan

Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan

Valarie Blue Bird



Assistant Professor
College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Professional Bio

Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., is an independent filmmaker and postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Jernigan works with Native-American communities developing obesity and diabetes prevention programs that target local food policy and the food environment. Jernigan uses the participatory research methods of filmmaking and photovoice in her interventions.

Project Description

Several studies have analyzed the diets of American-Indian communities but few studies have focused on the social and environmental factors contributing to obesity within these communities. The Food and Environment Assessment Study (FEAST) is a participatory research assessment to address the high prevalence of obesity among American-Indian children and families in three tribal communities in Northern California. The communities will implement the Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Communities (THRIVE), a community-based assessment created to help communities identify key social and environmental factors affecting health within their communities. The Food and Environment Assessment Study (FEAST) will build tribal research capacity and offer tribal council leaders opportunities for local intervention.

My New Connections Experience

I applied for New Connections because it was an important opportunity for me to assess the efficacy of a community assessment tool that previously hadn’t been used in the Native-American community. The experience has been a wonderful opportunity to further my research in the area of active living and food policy. The RWJF is an incredibly innovative and progressive foundation dedicated to social justice and I have benefited from the research and coaching clinics and the network of scholars and mentors I’ve met through New Connections.

Research Interest

Health disparities research, community-based participatory research, health policy, diabetes and obesity, food environment, Native American health.
The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2008¬†Active Learning Research
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Childhood Obesity
  • Project Name:¬†The Food and Environment Assessment Study (FEAST)

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