Margaret Handley and James Grieshop
Family members deliver food
Two family members deliver home-made food products to an envois business in Oaxaca. In many cases, the food is delivered to the relative in California the next day

An article in the most recent issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology resulted from the parallel projects of two UC researchers who learned of one another's work through the UC MEXUS Newsletter.

When UC MEXUS grant recipient Margaret Handley1 came across a UC MEXUS News article describing the work of UC Davis's James Grieshop in Oaxaca2 she recalls that she couldn't wait to give him a call. Unbeknownst to one another, both researchers had worked with the same populations of migrants from Oaxaca and their communities in Seaside, California.

Handley's own work in epidemiology and public health as co-director of the Collaborative Research Network at UC San Francisco3 had led her to investigate an outbreak of lead poisoning among young children and pregnant women in the Seaside area. Her inquiries indicated that chapulines, a fried grasshopper snack popular among Latinos from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, contained nearly 400 times the FDA recommended level for children under 6 years old. At the time she saw the article on Grieshop in 2006, Handley was working with state officials as well as researchers in Mexico to uncover the source of that lead.

Grieshop's work in Oaxaca initially had involved helping the youth of the village of San Pablo Huixtepec to create digital stories about their community for absent relatives in the U.S. During that work, he became aware of a cottage industry, called envios, for sending traditional foods from the village to relatives in such U.S. communities as Seaside.

Consequently, Grieshop, a lecturer and specialist in community education development in UC Davis's Department of Human and Community Development, worked with Handley on a paper detailing the mechanics of the transportation of prepared foods from Mexico to California and pointed out the possible public health implications. The resulting article and photographs illustrating the process, "Globalized migration and transnational epidemiology," can be seen at

1 A 2002 UC MEXUS Faculty Grant: Margaret A. Handley, Family and Community Medicine, UC San Francisco. Development of a Workshop to Provide Nutritional Counseling and Guidance in the Prevention of Lead Poisoning Among Immigrants Returning to the Oaxacan Valley, Mexico.
2 A 2003 Faculty Grant, James I. Grieshop, Human and Community Development, UC Davis. Cultural Traditions of Oaxaca and Digital Technology: A Collaborative Project of UC Davis and IIS/UABJO.
3 Handley oversees UCSF's Collaborative Research Network, one of the longest standing practice-based research networks in the United States.