Dr. Tara Zolnikov

Dr. Tara Rava Zolnikov is an associate professor at National University at the School of Health and Human Services, whose research focuses on aspects of culture in global health. Dr. Zolnikov teaches courses in both the BPH and MPH program; her primary courses are environmental health and global health. Dr. Zolnikov earned a Ph.D in Developmental Science from North Dakota State University and an M.S. in Environmental Health from Harvard School of Public Health and a second M.S. in Industrial Hygiene from Montana Tech of the University of Montana. She also earned a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Montana Tech of the University of Montana. Dr. Zolnikov’s works internationally on issues in low- and middle-income countries, including Kenya, Ghana, India, Colombia, and Brazil. She has worked on a variety of public health projects, ranging from infectious diseases (e.g. Ebola and HIV/AIDS) to access to water projects. She is primarily a qualitative researcher and concentrates on providing vulnerable populations with a voice; she uses autoethnographic, ethnographic, and phenomenological perspectives to understand or live through these experiences in order to recreate them for a widespread audience. Additionally, Dr. Zolnikov is the vice president of a nonprofit organization, The Shepherd’s Village, which focuses on providing access to water to Maasai communities around Narok, Kenya. Dr. Zolnikov has published extensively in some of the world’s most renowned public health and global health journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, AIDS and Behavior, Science of the Total Environment, and many more. She has also written and published two books, which focus on qualitative research and environmental health. In 2017, she received Editors Choice Reviewer of the Year Award at the American Journal in Public Health.


  • Zolnikov, T.. (2014). Understanding the social effects of water intervention implementation in the developing world: A qualitative study in Kitui, Kenya. Annals of Global Health, 80(3): 233-234.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2014). Economic benefits of implemented water interventions in the developing world: A qualitative study in Kitui, Kenya. Annals of Global Health, 80(3): 202.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2019). Changing tradition in the humanitarian sector: Kenya Red Cross challenging socioeconomic conditions through a novel business model approach. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 1-2.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2018). Where your electronics go to die. American Journal of Public Health, 108(5): 582.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2018). Formalizing gold mining under the Minamata Convention on mercury: Previewing the challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Environmental Science and Policy, 85: 123-131.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2018). A systematic review on mercury in artisanal gold mining. Science of the Total Environment, 633: 816-824.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2018). A humanitarian crisis: Lessons learned from Hurricane Irma. American Journal of Public Health, 108: 27-28.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2018). New targets for behavior change in Ebola outbreaks: Ideas for future interventions. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, 16: 79-85.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2018). AIDS-affected orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review on outcome differences in rural and urban environments. AIDS and Behavior, 22: 3429-3441.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2017). Access to water provides economic relief through enhanced relationships in Kenya. Journal of Public Health, 39(1): 1-6.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2017). My failed attempt to access small-scale gold miners. American Journal of Public Health, 107(4): 507-508.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2016). My Walk to Water. American Journal of Public Health, 106(4): 623-624.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2016). Improved Relationships in Eastern Kenya From Water Interventions and Access to Water. Health Psychology, 35(3): 273-280.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2014). Understanding cultural experiences: a qualitative study of Kenyans in America. African Identities, 13(2): 144-156.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2013). Prevalence, pathogenic capability, virulence genes, biofilm formation, and antibiotic resistance of Listeria in goat and sheep milk confirms need of hygienic milking. Pathogens and Global Health, 108(1): 21-29.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2013). Let's talk about culture! Experiencing a disco funeral in Western Kenya. Journal of Public Health, 35(3): 1-2.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2013). Confirmed low prevalence of Listeria mastitis in she-camel milk delivers a safe, alternative milk for human consumption. Acta Tropica, 130(2014): 1-6.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2013). Isolation and characterization of Salmonella enterica in day-old ducklings in Egypt. Pathogens and Global Health, 108(1): 37-48.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2012). The Maladies of Water and War: Addressing Poor Water Quality in Iraq. American Journal of Public Health, 103(6): 980-987.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2012). Limitations in small artisanal gold mining addressed by educational components paired with alternative mining methods. Science of the Total Environment, 419: 1-6.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2007). Evaluation of asbestos exposures during firewood-harvesting simulations in Libby, MT, USA Preliminary data. 51: 717-723.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2019). Autoethnographies on the environment and human health. Geneva, Switzerland: Springer. Pp. 1-157.
  • Zolnikov, T.. (2018). Climate change: Water and sanitation. In: Climate Resilient Water Resources Management, edited by Robert Brears. Geneva, Switzerland: Springer. Pp 5-14..

Contact Information

Dr. Tara Zolnikov

College: College of Professional Studies

Department: Community Health


(858) 309-3468

Kearny Mesa Campus


North Dakota State University - PHD - Science Education