Helen Vallianatos, PhD

Interim Associate Dean, Education, College of Social Sciences and Humanities - Office of Education
Professor, Faculty of Arts - Anthropology Dept


Interim Associate Dean, Education, College of Social Sciences and Humanities - Office of Education
2-10 University Terrace
8303 - 112 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2T4

Professor, Faculty of Arts - Anthropology Dept
13-15 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4



Dr. Helen Vallianatos is currently the Associate Dean of Students, in the Office of the Dean of Students, as well as a Professor in the Department of Anthropology. As Associate Dean of Students, she works to connect the Office of the Dean of Students with faculty and staff across campus, to ensure that student needs and issues across faculties are being addressed, and to assess how to improve student experiences at the University of Alberta.

Dr. Vallianatos has also served as Associate Chair (Undergraduate Programs) in the Department of Anthropology, during which time she worked to further develop the experiential learning component of the BA Honors program. She has also incorporated community-service learning in many of her courses, which dovetails well with her collaborative, community-based research approach.


Dr. Vallianatos' research focuses on the topics of food, gender, body and health. In many of her studies, Dr. Vallianatos has used visual methods in conjunction with semi-structured or narrative interviewing. A past winner of the Faculty of Arts research excellence award (2016), she is committed to conducting collaborative, community-based research, and typically works in interdisciplinary teams.

Past and ongoing research includes: 

  • examining food consumption during pregnancy in New Delhi, India 
  • immigrant women's experiences in Canada, changing food, gender and health practices and how food is used to construct identities (manuscripts submitted + in prep)
  • immigrant and non-immigrant family foodways and intergenerational negotiations on food, gender and health behaviours (different studies, one resulting in the book Acquired Tastes while the other study has manuscripts submitted and in prep
  • food, gender and health practices among indigenous peoples in Bangladesh (manuscripts submitted and in prep)
  • how place shapes health and food practices and outcomes (e.g. Social Science and Medicine, Agriculture and Human Values)
  • immigrant women's food practices (e.g. among immigrant women with high-risk preganancies, a knowledge translation web site/app for health professionals)
  • health literacy among immigrant and refugee youth (manuscripts in prep)
  • childcare cultures and how this affects staff turnover 
  • Ghanaian mother’s perceptions of food, body and health influence food and health practices and uptake (or rejection) of health messages
  • experiences of head and neck cancer survivors (See me, hear me, heal me website--forthcoming)



Dr. Vallianatos is a previous winner of the Faculty of Arts teaching award (2012) and her teaching interests overlap with her research topics on food, gender, body and health. Previously offered courses include Anthropology of Gender, Anthropology of Food, Nutritional Anthropology, Health & Healing, Engendering Food, Body and Health, Gender, Age & Culture, and Visual Anthropology. As Associate Chair (Undergraduate Programs), Dr. Vallianatos had taught the Honours students, providing guidance on research ethics, methods, fieldwork, and writing. Dr. Vallianatos had often incorporated community-service learning (CSL), so that students could connect ideas from the classroom to everyday problems and realities. She is currently working with Dr. Alison Dunwoody (Sociology) on pedagogical papers evaluating CSL students' learning.

Dr. Vallianatos has supervised individual undergraduate students in independent research courses. Interested students may register for ANTHR 471 or 472 after consultation with Dr. Vallianatos.


Dr. Vallianatos is currently considering graduate student applicants for both MA and PhD.