Faculty Spotlight: Stephanie Child, PhD

Dr. Stephanie Child serves as Assistant Professor of Anatomy at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Child earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her M.A. in Anthropology at the University of Texas-Arlington. While earning her degrees, she completed a six-year rotation as an intern at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office in Texas, where she routinely engaged in the recovery, processing, and identification of human remains. After moving to Missouri, she remained actively involved as the lead consultant for law enforcement at the Human Skeletal Identification Laboratory.

During her time in Missouri, Dr. Child taught anatomy and biology courses for a period of eight years before making her way to Idaho. Her research focuses on the relationship between angular and structural variation in the femur and is relevant and applicable to a variety of contexts, including variation in body form and proportions, postural behaviors, activity levels, and impaired mobility associated with a variety of gait disorders.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in anatomy?

A: Initially, it wasn’t something that I was actively seeking. It just evolved naturally somewhere along my journey here. I started out in the forensic world, in large part because of my love for and training in anthropology, anatomy and pathology. Over the years as I began to teach more and more, I found that I really loved teaching, taught at several different institutions, and I couldn’t be happier of where I’ve landed. I do miss forensics sometimes, but not all the maggots or septic tanks.

Q: How did you transition into academia, and what inspired you to work at ICOM?

A: I have been teaching my whole academic career in some form or another. What inspired me to work for ICOM? Well that’s easy -the opportunity to be a founding member of something new, important and worthwhile. I believe everyone here supports our mission and is here to help see it through.

Q: What is a memorable research project you’ve worked on?

A: Hands down my dissertation research on lower limb biomechanics, gait mechanics, and postural behavior. I spent several months of several years collecting data from multiple sites across the US. While I have been principally involved in research projects and published papers prior, these were the times where I felt most immersed and absolutely in-love with my research! I’m currently working on new projects and am looking forward to opportunities to involve interested student researchers.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: Definitely the people I work with, which includes our incredible leadership, supportive staff, collaborative faculty, and amazing students. There is truly a sense of inclusive community here that I have not experience anywhere else. We take this seriously, but not ourselves. We laugh a lot, enjoy what we are here to do, and take pride in “a job well done.”

Q: What advice do you have for ICOM’s student doctors as they prepare to become physicians?

A: Enjoy the journey. While this will be a challenging time in your life, it will also be one of the most rewarding. The relationships that you establish here will be lifelong friendships. Take care of yourself as you would care for others, and “embrace the chaos.” Also, don’t mess with the pancreas.


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