RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM

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Alexis Handal, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor
College of Population Health, UNM Health Sciences Center

Dr. Handal earned a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder.  She earned a M.P.H. in Epidemiology-International Health and Ph.D. in Epidemiological Sciences from the University of Michigan, where she was a Rackham Merit Fellow and a doctoral fellow in the Center for Research on Ethnicity Culture and Health, and a Fulbright Fellow.  Dr. Handal completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD. 

Research Interests 

Dr. Handal’s research interests include environmental epidemiology, reproductive epidemiology, and child health and development examined within a social/political/economic context and in global settings. Her research focuses on populations who are traditionally underrepresented in research, including Latino and Indigenous populations in the U.S. and Latin America and those who are most exposed to hazardous work conditions and environmental toxins such as farm-workers, with a particular focus on women and their children. Her research approach uses a health equity lens focusing on the interconnection between occupational stress, toxic exposures and difficult social environments, in the context of precarious employment, on maternal health and child development. Dr. Handal is recognized nationally and in Latin America for her research on the impact of export-led flower production on women and their families. Her current research, where she leads a multi-institute/bi-national research team, focuses on the impact of industry-related exposures (chemical, psychosocial, structural) among Ecuadorian female flower workers and on child health and development as well as the impact of this industry on surrounding communities. Dr. Handal’s research interests also include examining the health impact of worker’s rights including an examination of worker protection legislation and the impact on pregnant employees, and the impact of occupational stress and gender discrimination on maternal and child health.