Zoë Bell has a background in Biomedical Sciences (BSc) and Human Nutrition (MSc). Having completed her studies Zoë gained experience as a clinical research assistant and volunteered with a range of different organisations. Her volunteering experience included working as a dietetic support volunteer, volunteering at an NHS Breastfeeding Clinic, shadowing community midwifery, volunteering at Crises, with local foodbanks and International Citizen Service. This experience led Zoë to want to return to academia to combine her interests of nutrition and maternal and child health from a public health perspective. Her PhD is, therefore, a multi-disciplinary approach combining public health nutrition and sociology of health to address health inequalities. It is also a collaboration with Gateshead Council’s Public Health Team.
Zoë’s PhD uses a qualitative approach to explore the social determinants of food insecurity and its nutritional impact amongst women and children in high-income countries. Food insecurity is a public health concern. Those experiencing food insecurity are unable to afford or access food of sufficient quality and quantity to enable good health and wellbeing. Particularly vulnerable are mothers with young children, pregnant women, and lone parents (the majority of whom are women). Her research uses different qualitative methods to provide deeper insight into this area.
Currently Zoë has two ongoing projects. One project utilises existing qualitative literature to explore how women and children in high-income countries perceive food insecurity to affect their nutritional health and wellbeing. Another project utilises interviews with frontline workers of the food aid system to capture their perceptions and experiences of food insecurity within a changing landscape.