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More than a Few Dead Mosquitoes: Assessing the Risk of Pesticide Use on Tanzanian Children’s Neurodevelopment Talk with Francisco Alejandro Montiel-Ishino

When Jan 25, 2017
from 12:30 PM to 02:00 PM
Where 216 Willard Building
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Franciso Alejandro Montiel-Ishino, Ph.D. Candidate, Biobehavioral Health


Francisco Alejandro Montiel Ishino

Tanzanian children undergo chronic pesticide exposures linked to longstanding practices to kill disease carrying mosquitoes. In addition to the use of internationally banned pesticides outside and inside the household, Tanzania has unique social and cultural perceptions concerning pesticides. These perceptions include the idea that pesticides are “medicine for mosquitoes” (e.g., kiSwahili: dawa ya mbu) instead of poisons to kill mosquitoes (e.g., kiSwahili: sumu ya mbu). The use of pesticides in Tanzania is further complicated as exposures are implicated with child neurodevelopmental deficits and delays in motor, cognitive, behavioral, and socioemotional outcomes. The household is critical as this is where early childhood exposures primarily occur and where social environments and culture synergize. However, few studies have examined the effects of household-level factors on this relationship and even more rare those that include social and cultural factors. A mixed method exploratory study design is critical to assess the risk of urban household pesticide use and exposures on the neurodevelopment of Tanzanian preschool-aged children. During this Brown Bag session, the pilot fieldwork in Tanzania and preliminary findings informing the study design will be presented and discussed.


Francisco Alejandro Montiel Ishino

Francisco Alejandro “Alex” Montiel Ishino is a PhD candidate in Biobehavioral Health (BBH) and field supervisor for the BBH Global Health Program at Penn State. He received his MPH in SocioHealth Sciences with a Biocultural Medical Anthropology concentration from the University of South Florida and his BS in Anthropological Sciences from The Ohio State University. He holds the titles of Certified in Public Health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Ford Foundation Fellow, and Alfred P. Sloan Scholar. His primary research goal is to understand the role of environmental factors during early child development that contribute to health disparities. His ultimate goal is to facilitate prevention efforts and progressive health policies for vulnerable populations across the lifecourse. He has worked with disenfranchised populations and underrepresented groups in the US and abroad to examine the dynamic relationships between environment and health using community-based participatory and mixed methods research. To do this, Mr. Montiel Ishino has incorporated complex data collection methods (e.g., biomarkers; neurobehavioral and psychometric assessments) and advanced analyses (e.g., qualitative components; mixed effects; time-varying) to identify, measure, and quantify environmental health risk factors. His research has been continuously adapting to develop frameworks to disentangle dynamic sociocultural contexts and identify novel risk factors. Findings from this collaborative research have been published in various peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Environmental & Occupational Medicine, Journal of Cancer Education, Health Promotion and Practice, Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplant, Bone Marrow Transplantation, and Practicing Anthropology.