Dr Gabrielle Jenkin is a Senior Research Fellow in the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit, University of Otago, Wellington. She is also in KidsCam—an HRC-funded study of Wellington children’s lives documented through wearable cameras. Recently she was appointed Deputy Director of the Social Psychiatry and Population (SoPOP) Mental Health Research Unit, where she will be undertaking suicide research.
Her expertise is in food policy (especially food marketing), food politics, and the influence of the food industry on policy and population health. She is currently completing her Health Science Postdoctoral Fellowship on food marketing to children: Word of Mouse: internet marketing to NZ kids.
Longitudinal study provokes research interest
“I was captivated by the BBC series 28 Up. This made me think about how much of life was pre-conditioned by our families and how much was free choice. It led me into sociology, and later a master’s in public health on the Christchurch Health and Development Study.
“I moved to Wellington because of my respect for the researchers who are leading experts in health inequalities in New Zealand. I am inspired by the women for whom I have worked at the University here; having a woman dean is tremendous.
“I also think Wellington is a great place to work and study, because it’s the political and policy-making hub. This provides better opportunities for research to be translated into policy.”
Opportunities enhanced by receiving the Fellowship
“The Health Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship helped me get selected by the International Social Science Council as one of 30 postdoctoral social scientists to attend Food Futures, at Villa Vigoni—the German-Italian Centre for Cultural and Scientific exchange, in Lake Como, Italy. It also helped in my promotion to Senior Research Fellow and my recent appointment as Deputy Director of SoPOP. More generally, I think it certainly brings you to the attention of a number of key University staff!
“I think society has a lot of respect for people with PhDs, so in that sense, you are considered, and treated, as an expert in a way that does not occur in absence of the title.”
Environment supportive for work and life
Gabrielle’s son was age three when they moved to Wellington. “This has become our home and we have good leaders here and other great staff who look after us.”
When she’s not working, Gabrielle enjoys Argentine tango, going to the gym, and most of all “spending time with my boy”.