Behind the Science with MAJ Keyia Carlton, PhD Assistant Program Manager Data and Decisions Science Program
How long have you been at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine?
I arrived at USARIEM July 2022, so about a year and a half so far.
How did you become interested in Soldier Nutrition and Performance?
My Ph.D. is in Health Psychology with a focus in Behavioral and Community Health Science. Health psychology basically looks at how biological, social and psychological factors promote or prevent optimal health. I guess you could say my initial interest was back in 2013 when I was choosing a graduate program that I thought would be useful to the military once I graduated and became an Army Research Psychologist. My personal interests are more in the realm of social determinants that contribute to health, which can include nutritional choices and ultimately impact performance.
What projects are you currently working on?
I was recently funded to lead a project that seeks to the optimize postpartum transition back to work for Marines. The aim is to scientifically validate what reasonable needs and expectations for physical and psychosocial rehabilitation should be and try to support readiness and retention among birthing parents.
What aspects of your job do you love and find most gratifying?
I want the work that I do to make a difference. More specifically, I want to find ways to make Service Members lives a little easier. Especially since I wear the uniform, I find it more gratifying to make an impact as opposed to getting any recognition for sure.
What part of your job do you find to be the most difficult?
There are a lot of non-science related tasks that need to be completed to conduct research such as applying for funding or securing contracts for equipment or getting data sharing agreements in place. Often collaborations mean you have to wait for other organizations to go through similar processes for approval. If I could just wiggle my nose, have data, run analysis, get the results, and share them, that would be great.
When you are not at the Institute, what do you like to do for fun?
For fun, I enjoy trying new things in general. Whether it's karaoke, or axe throwing, or a barre class, or a new food, I'm typically down for whatever.