Sarah L. McKune, MPH, Ph.D. is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Global Health and the Center for African Studies. She holds a B.A. in French and Sociology from Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., and earned a Master’s in Public Health from Emory University in 2002. She completed a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the University of Florida’s School for Natural Resources and the Environment in 2012 and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow for a collaborative effort between UF and the CGIAR’s collaborative research program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS).
Dr. McKune joined PHHP in 2013 as the Director of Public Health Programs, a position from which she ran the campus and online MPH and Public Health Certificate programs for the College. In 2016, she joined the Department of Environmental and Global Health in a joint appointment with the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida. She is affiliate faculty in the School for Natural Resources and the Environment and advises students from a variety of units across campus, including Sustainable Development, Anthropology, Food and Resource Economics, Medical Geography, and Sociology, as well as those operated by EGH, including Public Health and One Health.
Dr. McKune’s background in development informs her research, most of which is applied and focuses on global health nutrition and food security. She has significant experience in project design, implementation, training facilitation, and monitoring and evaluation. Her research utilizes mixed methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative in nature, and seeks to explain the complex, system dynamics that affect child growth and nutritional outcomes, including factors such as household hygiene and sanitation, livestock ownership, climate change, and gender dynamics within the household. For the past 20 years she has worked with global health development programs, largely in the West African Sahel, but also in Nepal, Haiti, Uganda, and Ethiopia. She serves as the Health and Human Nutrition Cross Cutting Theme leader for the USAID Feed the Future Livestock System Innovation Laboratory, working with an interdisciplinary team of scientists to improve the nutrition of children under five and pregnant and lactating women through increased consumption of animal source foods.
Her research investigates the complex, human and natural system dynamics – including hygiene, livestock ownership, climate change, race/ethnicity, and gender/power dynamics – that affect human health outcomes. Though her work often focuses on child growth and nutritional outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, she has contributed to understanding of HIV/AIDS, maternal health outcomes, Ebola, and, most recently, COVID-19.