As an educator, Dr. Placek's goal is to provide a flexible and active learning environment that is inclusive of multiple backgrounds and learning styles, where all students feel comfortable engaging with the course material. In 2019, she co-taught a collaborative immersive learning course for students at Ball State University with Dr. Jean Marie Place and Dr. Jennifer Wies. The three collaborators were awarded a Provost Grant for their project entitled, “Healthy Moms, Healthy Communities: Understanding Perceptions & Evaluating Maternal Opioid Treatment in Muncie.”
The anthropology section of this project was geared toward investigating the social-ecological factors that contribute to opioid use in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Students learned how to employ anthropological methods to: 1) build an understanding of the factors that give rise to opioid use in pregnancy, and 2) develop a message geared toward educating the community on this critical health epidemic that afflicts the lives of women in the Muncie.