Virtual breastfeeding communities: a project inspired at AllerGen event

What do Instagram, breastfeeding, a Manitoba-based epidemiologist and an Alberta-based digital technology expert have in common?

They all come together in a new research project, with the AllerGen network as the catalyst.

At AllerGen’s 2016 Research Conference in Vancouver, BC, Alessandro Marcon, an AllerGen HQP with the University of Alberta-based Health Law Institute (HLI) and specialist in digital technologies and social media, approached AllerGen investigator Dr. Meghan Azad, an epidemiologist and community health scientist interested in the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD).

Mr. Marcon heard Dr. Azad speak at the conference about why some women are unable to breastfeed their infants for the length of time recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to maximize health benefits, and he had an idea for further research into the topic—and its intersection with the online world.

Their meeting spawned a unique project exploring whether or not Instagram users are building communities of support around women who breastfeed.

Health law expert Professor Timothy Caulfield, an AllerGen investigator and Research Director of the HLI, will contribute to the paper that they plan to write about their research findings.

Read more about the project.