Paul Spicer Headshot

Paul Spicer

Paul Spicer, PhD, is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, and Immediate Past President of the ZERO TO THREE Board of Directors.

Contributions to the Field

Paul Spicer, PhD, is a professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, where he teaches on religion, human development, health, and Native North America. He is an applied medical anthropologist who has been principal investigator on projects in addiction, child development, and genetics. This research has been funded by the Administration on Children and Families, numerous institutes at the National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His current research focuses on questions of health and social policy in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. He is principal investigator of the Center for Ethics in Indigenous Genomic Research, a National Human Genome Research Institute Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research and of a National Cancer Institute partnership grant with the Cherokee Nation to develop tribal research on cancer health disparities. He is the leader of the program in Cancer Health Disparities at the Stephenson Cancer Center and director of Community Outreach and Engagement at the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources. He also serves as editor in chief of the Infant Mental Health Journal and as president of the board of ZERO TO THREE, the nation’s leading organization for infants, toddlers, and families, with an annual budget of over $50 million dollars.


  • Board Member, ZERO TO THREE
  • Center for Applied Social Research, University of Oklahoma
  • American Anthropological Association
  • Society for Research on Child Development
  • World Association for Infant Mental Health

Current Research

Dr. Spicer’s current research focuses on the ethics and politics of knowledge and practice in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, with a focus on community-based intervention development in early childhood. This work involves him in explorations of the ways that approaches derived from specialty mental health practice can be translated to lower-resource settings. Of particular interest currently are the ways that infant mental health perspectives can be made relevant to pediatric practice.

Recent Honor/Awards/Recognition/Books Published

Dr. Spicer has presented invited addresses in London, Vienna, and East Lansing, Michigan, and his work has been featured in leading journals in anthropology, developmental psychology, medicine, and infant mental health, as well as in edited volumes on children’s health and development.