Chelsea Wentworth

Primary Field
Cultural Anthropology
Michigan State University, Department of Anthropology
Knowledge / Expertise
Interest/Specialty Areas Food Security; Community Engaged Research; Public Health Interventions and Policy Change; Racial and Gendered Health Disparities; Sustainable Food Systems; Applied Anthropology; Urban Gardening; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; Anthropology of Feasting

Dr. Chelsea Wentworth is a Research Fellow in the Department of Community Sustainability and affiliated core and GJEC faculty for the Center for Gender in a Global Context (GenCen), and affiliated faculty with the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) and the Department of Anthropology. Dr. Wentworth’s research examines hunger and food security, food as a human right, and sustainable food systems through a gendered lens, promoting critical reflection on the impact cultural experiences have on health access and policy. Employing innovative qualitative methods at the intersection of integrated social science, public health policy, and nutritional syndemics theory, Dr. Wentworth’s research has applications in South Pacific, developing world, and in US contexts. Currently, she works with the Flint Leverage Points Project, a community-research partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. This research aims to map the Flint food system to identify leverage points to improve food security and support evidence-based public policy. In particular, Dr. Wentworth’s research examines how households navigate the Flint food system, barriers to access, and how crises like the Flint Water Crisis and COVID-19 impact household food security. 

Additionally, Dr. Wentworth is engaged in long-term research in the South Pacific in Port Vila, Vanuatu since 2009 on issues of infant and young child feeding practice, urban gardening and land use change, disaster response, and childhood malnutrition in collaboration with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre and the Vanuatu Ministry of Health. Dr. Wentworth also supports the work of the GRAIN Research and Innovation project to support gender mapping work with partners at MSU and in Afghanistan. 

Emphasis on feminist community-engaged research praxis and understanding food access through a systems-based approach run through Dr. Wentworth’s international and US based research. These projects have broader applications in the fields of gender, health, and public policy as governments and NGOs work to improve quality of life for community members. Dr. Wentworth’s work has been funded by the US Fulbright Program, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research within the USDA, and the Hewlett Foundation, and publications appear in: Anthropological ForumMedical AnthropologyThe Asia Pacific Journal of AnthropologyFood and Foodways, and in several community-engaged outreach documents.


Dr. Wentworth received her Ph.D. in Anthropology with a dissertation titled “Feasting and Food Security: Negotiating infant and child feeding in urban and peri-urban Vanuatu” from the University of Pittsburgh where she also earned a Master of Public Health, and a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Prior to joining MSU, she served as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at High Point University, and as a qualitative research consultant for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

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