• Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Health
  • School of Nursing

Two core questions motivate Dr. Buttenheim's interdisciplinary research agenda on global maternal-child health: (1) How can we change parent behavior to improve child health? (2) Do maternal-child health interventions work? Her work addresses "last mile" problems in maternal-child health, requiring an understanding of how health behavior decisions are made within households, and how socioeconomic and cultural contexts both condition and constrain those decisions. Dr. Buttenheim also practices and promotes rigorous impact evaluation to inform investments in maternal-child health programs, and has conducted evaluations on school feeding programs (Lao PDR), sanitation investments (Bangladesh), the village midwife program (Indonesia), and post-disaster relief and recovery programs (Bangladesh and Pakistan).

Dr. Buttenheim's current research focus is the use of behavioral economic principles (including financial incentives and intrinsic rewards) to encourage behavior change and takeup of preventive care services in the area of maternal-child health. She has projects underway in the US related to parental vaccine hesitancy and refusal; and in Peru on Chagas disease and oral rehydration therapy. She also leads several projects related to the impact of farmers’ markets on health in collaboration with The Food Trust.

Dr. Buttenheim received her BA from Yale University, her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and her PhD degree in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Office of Population Research, Princeton University and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.