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Headshot of Ivonne Headley

PhD Student, Nutrition, UNC-CH

Born and raised in Sterling, Virginia, Ivonne grew up in a Spanish and English bilingual home which instilled in her a lifelong passion for finding ways to serve Spanish-speaking communities, particularly in Latin America. She is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN) and completed her BS in Dietetics, Nutrition, and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont, and her MPH in Nutrition and Dietetics at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

After serving as a Peace Corps community health volunteer in Manabí, Ecuador from 2018-2020, and completing a 3-month dietetics practicum in Quito, Ecuador in 2022, Ivonne began her career as a research scientist at RTI International where she strengthened her skills in research analytics. While working at RTI, Ivonne continued fostering collaborative relationships with colleagues at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, where she served as the lead data analyst for a cross-sectional study assessing attitudes and confidence towards providing nutrition care among medical doctors. She then began working towards her PhD in Nutrition with a focus on behavioral interventions in the fall of 2023. Ivonne’s research in Galápagos focuses on exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) promotion as well as reducing the child dual burden of malnutrition through double-duty action. Her EBF research in particular focuses on women with obesity and/or diabetes and effects on offspring adiposity and inflammatory biomarkers. She utilizes formative research methodologies and mixed-methods research design to inform the craft and implementation of behavioral interventions.  

Through her work, Ivonne hopes to facilitate optimal infant feeding practices and help families engage in healthier eating habits. She is currently funded through the Department of Nutrition’s National Institutes of Health, Global Cardiometabolic Disease Training (GCMD T-32) Pre-doctoral Fellowship.