Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology,
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences,
Office: Earth Sciences 852
I am a biological anthropologist with an interest in health inequities, in particular, the relationship between human health, nutrition, and culture. In my work I have focused upon the health and dietary practices of children in Cali, Colombia, Amerindians in the rainforests of Colombia and Guyana, refugees in Canada, and mothers and children in Tanzania and Nicaragua.
In Northern Nicaragua, I am working with Barbara Piperata (Ohio State U.) and colleagues at the Nicaragua Community Health Connection to identify barriers to maternal and child health in this region and develop new, evidence-based and locally-relevant public health solutions.
In Western Tanzania, I am working with Jason DeCaro (U. Alabama) to test a new model for the relationship between food insecurity, social capital, demographic characteristics and maternal and child well-being. In this we've found that the mental health of mothers should be considered alongside nutritional status, pathogen exposure, and education as a potential driver of infant innate immune system development.
My work in Guyana concerned the impact of rapid culture change on the health of Makushi Amerindians who live in the rainforests and savannas of central Guyana. In addition, in Guyana I also explored the compatibility of biological conservation with human development.
In Canada, I collaborated Christina Moffat (McMaster U.) and Dan Sellen (U. Toronto) to investigate knowledge and behaviour among immigrants and refugees in Canada regarding Vitamin D.
In Cali, Colombia, I collaborated with Darna Dufour (U. Colorado), Jerry Spurr (U. Wisconsin), Lisa Staten (U. Arizona) and Mario Reina (U. Valle, Cali) to study the association between parasitic infection and nutritional status in children. Also in Colombia, I worked with Tatuyo-Tukanoan Amerindians to understand their preference for a toxic staple crop
|Graduate Student Opportunities
I am interested in working with graduate students who wish to study human biological variation. The research projects in Nicaragua and Tanzania provide opportunities for graduate studies. If you are considering working with me, I encourage you to review the information provided above concerning the research in Nicaragua and Tanzania. As well, I recommend that you peruse the website for the University of Calgary's Biological Anthropology Specialization (http://bioanth.ucalgary.ca). If after reviewing this information you wish to discuss graduate study opportunities, please feel free to contact me.
Vercellotti G, Piperata B, Agnew A, Wilson W, Dufour D, Boano R, Justus H, Larsen C, Stout S, Sciulli PW. 2014. Exploring the Multidimensionality of Stature Variation in the Past through Comparisons of Archaeological and Living Populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 155(2):229-242, DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22552.
Wilson, W., Bulkan J., Piperata B.A., Hicks K., Ehlers P. 2011. Nutritional status of Makushi Amerindian Children and Adolescents of Guyana. Annals of Human Biology. 38(5):615-629, doi:10.3109/03014460.2011.588248.
Wilson, W. and Dufour, D.L. 2006. Ethnobotanical evidence for cultivar selection among the Tukanoans: Manioc (Manihot esculenta Crantz) in the Northwest Amazon. Culture and Agriculture. 28(2):122-130.
Wilson, W.; Milner, J.; Bulkan, J.; and Ehlers, P. 2006. Weaning Practices of the Makushi of Guyana and their Relationship to Infant and Child Mortality: A Preliminary Assessment of International Recommendations. American Journal of Human Biology 18(3):312-324.
My complete CV is available here:
| Supervised Theses
Acculturation and health among the Makushi of Guyana - Erin Barr (8/05 - present)
Seasonal variation in diet among the Makushi Indians of Guyana - Shawna Ardley
Dietary practices in Villaconte Valley of Peru- Karoline Guelke (9/01 - 2/04) (Co-supervised with Pascale Sicotte, Anthropology Dept., Univ. Calgary)