Kelsey Dancause, Ph.D.


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow under the supervision of Dr Suzanne King at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre, Psychosocial Research Division / Mcgill University, Department of Psychiatry.

My background is in Biological Anthropology, with a focus on population health, nutrition, and anthropometry. I completed my MA under the supervision of Sandra Gray at the University of Kansas, where I studied the dietary intake and nutritional status of women and children in northeastern Uganda (Karamoja). The region is stressful because of drought, famine, and armed conflict. I was interested in the group’s current dietary patterns, and how they have changed over time. I completed my PhD under the mentorship of J. Koji Lum and Ralph Garruto at Binghamton University in New York, where I studied health transition in the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. In many developing countries, populations continue to suffer undernutrition and infectious diseases, but at the same time, prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases are increasing rapidly – a change known as the health transition. I analyzed diet, activity, and anthropometric measurements of adults and children to highlight which behaviors and early growth patterns might correlate with increased chronic disease risk.

The effects of poor maternal nutrition have lifelong implications – for example, markers of chronic disease risk are elevated among individuals who had inadequate nutrition in utero. Prenatal maternal stress is associated with many similar outcomes, and likely exacerbates the effects of poor prenatal nutrition. My long-term research goals are to combine analyses of nutrition and stress in developing countries and among indigenous or disadvantaged populations in the US and Canada.

Contact Information:

Psychosocial Research Division
Douglas Institute Research Centre
McGill University, Dept. of Psychiatry
Perry Pavilion, 3rd. Floor
6875 LaSalle Blvd.
Verdun (Montréal), QC
H4H 1R3 CANADA

Telephone: (514) 761-6131 ext. 2371
Fax: 1-514-762-3049
E-mail: kelsey.dancause [at] douglas.mcgill.ca or kelseydancause [at] gmail.com

Published/In Press Refereed Papers

  1. Dancause KN, Vilar M, Wilson M, Soloway LE, DeHuff C, Chan C, Tarivonda L, Regenvanu R, Kaneko A, Lum JK, Garruto RM (In Press) Behavioral risk factors for obesity during health transition in Vanuatu, South Pacific. Accepted 30 Aug 2012.
  2. Dancause KN, Laplante DP, Fraser S, Brunet A, Ciampi A, Schmitz N, King S (2012) Prenatal exposure to a natural disaster increases risk for obesity in 5½ year old children. Pediatr Res 71(1):126-31. doi:10.1038/pr.2011.18 * Selected for feature as a podcast at http://www.nature.com/pr/podcasts/index.html
  3. Dancause KN, Cao X, Veru F, Xu Z, Hong H, Yu C, Laplante DP, Walker CD, King S (2012) Prenatal and early postnatal stress exposure influences long bone length and asymmetry in adult rat offspring. Am J Phys Anth 149(2):307-11. 
  4. Dancause KN, Vilar M, Chan C, DeHuff C, Wilson M, Soloway LE, Tarivonda L, Regenvanu R, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK (2012) Patterns of childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity during health transition in Vanuatu. Public Health Nutr 15(1):158-66. doi:10.1017/S1368980011001662.
  5. Dancause KN, Laplante DP, Oremus C, Fraser S, Brunet A, King S (2011) Disaster-related prenatal maternal stress influences birth outcomes: Project Ice Storm. Early Hum Dev 87(12):813-20. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2011.06.007
  6. Dancause KN, DeHuff C, Soloway LE, Vilar M, Chan C, Wilson M, Tarivonda L, Regenvanu R, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK (2011) Behavioral changes associated with economic development in the South Pacific: the health transition in Vanuatu. Am J Hum Biol 23(3):366-76. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21146
  7. Dancause KN, Vilar MG, Steffy R, Lum JK (2011) Characterizing genetic diversity of contemporary Pacific chickens using mitochondrial DNA analysis. PLoS One 6(2):e16843. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016843
  8. Dancause KN, Vilar M, DeHuff C, Wilson M, Soloway LE, Chan C, Lum KJ, Garruto RM (2010) Relationships between body size and percent body fat among Melanesians in Vanuatu. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 19(3):425-31. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/Volume19/vol19.3/Finished/18_1716_...
  9. Dancause KN, Yevtushok L, Lapchenko S, Shumlyansky I, Shevchenko G, Wertelecki W, Garruto RM (2010) Chronic radiation exposure in the Rivne-Polissia region of Ukraine: Implications for birth defects. Am J Hum Biol 22:667-74. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21063
  10. Dancause KN, Gray SJ, Akol HA (2009) Beer is the cattle of women: Sorghum beer commercialization and dietary intake of agropastoral families in Karamoja, Uganda. Soc Sci Med. 70:1123-30. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.12.008
  11. Dancause KN, Chan CW, Arunotai NH, Lum JK (2009) Origins of the Moken Sea Gypsies inferred from mitochondrial hypervariable region and whole genome sequences. J Hum Genet 54(2):86-93. doi:10.1038/jhg.2008.12
  12. Garruto RM, Reiber C, Alfonso MP, Gastrich H, Needham KD, Sunderman S, Walker S, Weeks J, DeRosa N, Faisst E, Dunn J, Fanelli K, Shilkret K (2008) Risk behaviors in a rural community with a known point-source exposure to Chronic Wasting Disease. Environmental Health 7:31. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-7-31

Published Abstracts

  1. Laplante DP, Dancause KN, Turcotte-Tremblay AM, Nylen K, Engeldinger J, O’Hara M, King S. The Effects of Prenatal Stress on Birth and Health Outcomes of Exposed Offspring: Project Ice Storm and the Iowa Flood Study. Podium presentation at the XVIII International Conference on Infant Studies. Minneapolis MN, USA, June 2012. 
  2. Lee G, Chan CW, Pomer A, Sun C, Olszowy KM, Silverman H, Dancause KN, Weitz C, Lum JK, Garruto RM. Increase in grip strength to cross sectional area ratios among modernized populations in Vanuatu. Poster presentation at the 37th Annual Meeting of the HBA (Human Biology Association). Portland OR, USA, April 2012. Am J Hum Biol 24:209. 
  3. Silverman H, Sun C, Pomer A, Chan CW, Dancause KN, Lee G, Olszowy KM, Weitz C, Garruto RM, Lum JK. Modernization and differential physical activity among the islands of Vanuatu. Poster presentation at the 37th Annual Meeting of the HBA. Portland OR, USA, April 2012. Am J Hum Biol 24:212.
  4. Sun C, Silverman H, Pomer A, Chan CW, Olszowy KM, Dancause KN, Lee G, Weitz C, Garruto RM, Lum JK. When Apple meets Kava: Impact of technology on traditional lifestyles in Vanuatu. Poster presentation at the 37th Annual Meeting of the HBA. Portland OR, USA, April 2012. Am J Hum Biol 24:212.
  5. Olszowy KM, Pomer A, Dancause KN, Sun C, Silverman H, Chan CW, Lee G, Weitz C, Lum JK, Garruto RM. Exploring the health transition in Vanuatu: Longitudinal data comparisons from 2007 to 2011. Poster presentation at the 37th Annual Meeting of the HBA. Portland OR, USA, April 2012. Am J Hum Biol 24:212.
  6. Pomer A, Chan CW, Dancause KN, Lee G, Olszowy KM, Silverman H, Sun C, Weitz C, Garruto RM, Lum JK. Change in age at menarche in Vanuatu. Podium presentation at the 37th Annual Meeting of the HBA. Portland OR, USA, April 2012. Am J Hum Biol 24:214.
  7. Lum JK, Sun C, Silverman H, Pomer A, Chan CW, Olszowy K, Dancause KN, Lee G, Weitz C, Garruto RM. Contribution of Kava (Piper methysticum) consumption to sex biased rates of obesity in Vanuatu. Podium presentation at the 37th Annual Meeting of the HBA. Portland OR, USA, April 2012. Am J Hum Biol 24:215.
  8. Dancause KN, Laplante DP, Fraser S, Ruiz-Culebro C, Brunet A, Ciampi A, Schmitz N, King S. Impact of prenatal maternal stress on birth outcomes and physical growth: Project Ice Storm. Podium presentation at the 36th Annual Meeting of the HBA. Minneapolis MN, USA, April 2011. Am J Hum Biol 23(2):255-6.
  9. Dancause KN, Vilar M, Chan CW, DeHuff C, Wilson M, Soloway LE, Tarivonda L, Regenvanu R, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK. The combined burden of infectious diseases, undernutrition, and obesity in developing countries: Health transition in Vanuatu. Poster presentation at the SRCD (Society for Research in Child Development) meetings. Montréal QC, Canada, April 2011.
  10. Laplante DP, Dancause KN, Ruiz-Culebro C, Fraser S, King S. Prenatal maternal stress impacts fetal outcomes: Project Ice Storm. Poster presentation at the SRCD meetings. Montréal QC, Canada, April 2011.
  11. Dancause KN, Laplante DP, Fraser S, Brunet A, Ciampi A, Schmitz N, King S. Prenatal exposure to a natural disaster increases risk for obesity in children (2010) Poster presented at the 3rd Conference on Recent Advances in the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity, Hamilton ON, Canada. Proceedings accessible at: http://www.interprofessional.ubc.ca/Brochures/Obesity2010_Abstract_Listing.pdf.
  12. 12.  Needham KD, Vilar M, Chan CW, Soloway LE, DeHuff C, Wilson M, Tarivonda L, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK (2009) Effects of malaria control and modernization on health across the lifespan: the health transition in Vanuatu. Podium presentation at the 78th Annual Meeting of the AAPA (American Association of Physical Anthropologists), Chicago IL, USA. Am J Phys Anth 138(S48):198-9.
  13. Needham KD, Yevtushok L, Lapchenko S, Wertelecki W, Garruto RM. Dietary and activity patterns and implications for birth defects in the Chernobyl impacted Rivne-Polissia region of Ukraine (2009) Podium presentation at the 34th Annual Meeting of the HBA, Chicago IL, USA. Am J Hum Biol 21(2):261-2.
  14. DeHuff C, Soloway LE, Needham KD, Wilson M, Vilar M, Chan C, Regenvanu R, Tarivonda L, Kaneko A, Lum JK, Garruto RM (2008) Health transition in Vanuatu: adult adiposity and economic development. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the HBA, Columbus OH, USA. Am J Hum Biol 20(2):217-8.
  15. Lichtenfeld MJ, Worne H, Walker S, Tavares A, Lynch D, Chan C, Arber C, Gego D, Sunderman S, Soloway L, Needham K, Edwards CA, O’Brien D, Little MA, Garruto RM (2008) Overweight and obesity in immigrant and multigenerational school children in upstate New York communities. Poster presented at the 33nd Annual Meeting of the HBA, Columbus OH, USA. Am J Hum Biol 20(2):226.
  16. Needham KD, Wilson M, DeHuff C, Vilar M, Chan CW, Soloway LE, Regenvanu R, Tarivonda L, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK (2008) Health transition in Vanuatu: changing dietary patterns and cardiovascular disease risk with economic development among adults. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the HBA, Columbus OH, USA. Am J Hum Biol 20(2):229.
  17. Soloway L, Needham KD, DeHuff C, Wilson M, Vilar M, Chan CW, Regenvanu R, Tarivonda L, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK (2008) Health transition in Vanuatu: blood pressure in adults. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the HBA, Columbus OH, USA. Am J Hum Biol 20(2):233-4.
  18. Vilar M, Chan CW, Soloway L, DeHuff C, Needham KD, Wilson M, Regenvanu R, Tarivonda L, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK (2008) Health transition in Vanuatu: the effects of modernization and malaria control on child growth. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the HBA, Columbus OH, USA. Am J Hum Biol 20(2):237.
  19. Yevtushok L, Needham KD, Lapchenko S, Wertelecki W, Garruto R. Dietary and Activity Patterns and Implications on Birth Defects in the Chornobyl Impacted Rivne-Polissia Region in Ukraine (2008) Poster presented at the 1st Central and Eastern European Summit on Preconception Health and Prevention of Birth Defects. Budapest, Hungary. Abstracts accessible at: http://www.ibis-birthdefects.org/start/2008_summit.htm#6.
  20. Lichtenfeld MJ, Worne H, Walker S, Tavaresi A, Lynch D, Chan CW, Gebo D, Sunderman S, Soloway L, Needham KD, Edwards CA, Delafield S, Little MA, Garruto RM (2007) Health transitions in school children: obesity and overweight in Broome County, New York. Poster presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the HBA, Philadelphia PA, USA. Am J Hum Biol 19(2):264-5.
  21. Needham KD, Gray SJ (2007) Effects of beer commercialization on children’s health in Karamoja. Poster presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Human Biology Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania PA, USA. Am J Hum Biol 19(2):269-70.
  22. Needham KD, Gray SJ (2006) ‘Even the tobacco gets drunk’: The nutritional, economic, and social importance of beer among the Karimojong. Poster presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Vancouver BC, Canada. Proceedings accessible at: http://www.sfaa.net/sfaa2006/SfAA2006Program.pdf.
  23. Needham KD, Gray SJ, Akol AH (2006) The influence of commercialization on the direct and indirect nutritional value of sorghum beer in the diets of the Karimojong. Poster presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the HBA, Anchorage AL, USA. Am J Hum Biol 18(2):264.
  24. Needham KD, Gray SJ, Akol AH (2005) Beer production, consumption, and sale among the Karimojong: A preliminary assessment of increased commercialization on nutrition and social regulations of drinking. Podium presentation at the Mid-American Alliance for African Studies Conference: African Cultures in the Face of Globalization, Springfield MO, USA.