Honorary Visiting Fellow
Global Diet and Physical Activity Research Group
Current work and interests
Florence is a Prince of Wales Fellow in Public Health Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), supported by the Brighter Living Foundation. She is working with Dr Tolullah Oni and Professor Nick Wareham to understand factors underlying decisions on diets of children in the first 1000 days of life, thereby informing the development of strategies for achieving sustained improvement in diets in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This research will generate evidence, practical insights, and tools for engaging businesses to deliver sustainable, safe, affordable, and nutritious food in selected secondary cities in Kenya and Rwanda, with a special focus on nutrition in the first 1000 days of life.
Key research questions for this Fellowship include:
- With diverse influences including cultural norms, education, health campaigns, and commercial marketing, which messages do families trust, and which have the greatest impact on family decisions, household food choices, and maternal and child health?
- What do we know about the effectiveness of different strategies for improving awareness of micronutrient deficiencies? What strategies have been used and adopted, and have they been successful? What challenges have been faced and how have they been addressed?
- How can families be migrated from intellectual awareness of micronutrients to sustained changes in diet as an affordable and aspirational goal? What has been learned, and how does this inform future strategies?
- What balance should be struck between delivering micronutrients via primary food consumption (e.g. eggs, plant-based and animal protein, and dairy) versus fortified products and supplements? Are there conditions in which one strategy should be emphasised above the other?
Her research interests include:
- Maternal and child nutrition in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs)
- Sustainability leadership in nutrition in LMICs
- Micronutrients in the first 1000 days of life
- Lactation and bone health in the context of maternal HIV and antiretroviral therapy
Florence is a member of The Nutrition Society, the International AIDS Society, and the International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation.
Background and experience
Florence’s previous research with the Nutritional Epidemiology programme investigated the influence of diet, nutrition and HIV status during pregnancy and lactation on bone health in African women and their children. The research was based on a prospective cohort study that she set-up in Uganda during her PhD.
Prior to joining the Nutritional Epidemiology programme Florence was an Investigator Scientist in the MRC Nutrition and Bone Health Research (NBH) Group led by Professor Ann Prentice, and a visiting worker at the MRC Epidemiology Unit.
Florence has a PhD in Biological Science from the University of Cambridge. She was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to conduct her PhD at MRC Human Nutrition Research (Elsie Widdowson Laboratory). She also has a BSc in Food Science and Technology and MSc in Applied Human Nutrition from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Florence has pre-doctoral work experience in management and prevention of acute malnutrition, design and implementation of nutrition programmes through a health systems strengthening approach, capacity building for health workers and technical assistance to health facilities and districts in Uganda. She previously worked for Baylor-Uganda (both the clinical Center of Excellence for paediatric HIV/AIDS – which also doubles as the national paediatric infectious diseases clinic, and the Baylor nationwide programmes on comprehensive HIV/AIDS. At Baylor-Uganda, Florence designed and implemented a pioneering programme integrating nutrition and food security interventions into HIV/AIDS services at >300 government health facilities in 25 districts of Uganda.
Florence is a qualified facilitator on various Uganda Ministry of Health nutrition courses for health workers in Uganda: Nutrition Care and Support for People Living with HIV, Integrated Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling, Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition, and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.