I am a Professor and Head of the Department of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University. My affiliations range across the university, where I serve as a faculty research associate with the Population Research Institute, research affiliate with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, and faculty affiliate with the School of International Affairs and Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse. I am an honorary research associate with the African Climate and Development Initiative at the University of Cape Town and was selected as a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow in 2017. I am also a co-editor of Human Geography and Nature & Society for The Annals of the American Association of Geographers.
I am a broadly trained geographer whose research, teaching, and outreach focuses on livelihoods, conservation and development, environmental change, and human health. My work is centered in Southern Africa where I have conducted research since 1999 and lived in the region for more than two years. Over the past decade, I have been involved in two separate projects examining how environmental variability shapes demographic patterns in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, and how social and ecological systems in South Africa are being transformed by HIV/AIDS. These research projects are externally funded, including support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) Program and a NSF CAREER award. My book, States of Disease: Political Environments and Human Health, received the Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award, and was reviewed in April 2019 in The AAG Review of Books. More recently, my laboratory group (HELIX: Health and Environment Landscapes for Interdisciplinary eXchange) is examining how COVID-19 is transforming the US opioid epidemic.