Nicole Berry


Health Sciences

Nicole Berry


Health Sciences

Areas of interest

Global health, gender & reproductive health, maternal/child health, participatory methods


  • BA, International Studies, University of South Carolina
  • MA, Anthropology, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • PhD, Anthropology, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • Postdoctoral studies in community based participatory research, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill


Dr. Berry received her training at the University of Michigan, where she got her M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology and earned a graduate certificate from the joint program with Psychology. Before coming to Simon Fraser, Dr. Berry was a Kellogg Community Health Scholar at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Research interests

Dr. Berry is committed to understanding how to foment changes that have a positive impact on health. Her research focuses on the study of social change through an examination of reproductive health in a globalizing world. Her post-doctoral training in community-based participatory research buttressed a methodological dimension of her thematic interests. Her approach to health promotion involves exploring collaborative models of research with disenfranchised population.

Her doctoral research was based on a two-year ethnographic study in Sololá, Guatemala evaluating attempts by local, national and international health workers to improve emergency obstetric care in the district hospital. She explored this interventions at all levels—from the historical environment that catalyzed expert support around emergency obstetric care, to the assumptions about maternal mortality and pregnant women embedded in the intervention. She investigated why the intervention failed to decrease alarmingly high rates of maternal mortality among local Mayan women. Her field study provides significant insight into why, after 20 years, the international community continues to make little headway in decreasing high rates of maternal mortality in developing countries, and points to alternative approaches to improve the success rates of interventions both in emergency obstetrics and Safe Motherhood. Dr. Berry is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation data.

Her post-doctoral project examines how the global process of migration can impact family relationships and, in turn, how family dynamics can affect adolescent reproductive health behaviour and outcomes. Proyecto PADRES (PARENTS’ Project) engaged mothers from the newly established Latino community in Durham, NC in a community-based participatory research process to investigate why so many Latino adolescents drop out of school and abandon their families before 18 years of age. The research data was used to develop an educational curriculum for parents of Latino teens and preteens. The curriculum is based on empowerment education techniques and covers six different topics—from communication to discipline to letting go of counterproductive beliefs—to help promote what community-members consider healthy, functioning families.

In the future, Dr. Berry would like to take her community-based research skills back to Guatemala to engage indigenous communities in finding solutions to the problem of high maternal mortality rates.

Teaching interests

Dr. Berry currently teaches Health, Gender and Development. Her other areas of interest include Global Health, Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health, Theory in Health Promotion, Empowerment and Participatory Methods.


This instructor is currently not teaching any courses.

Publications and activities

Nicole Berry publications and activities