Speaker Biographical Sketches
Alexandra Adams, Ph.D., M.D., is associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and director of the University of Wisconsin (UW) Collaborative Center for Health Equity School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is currently practicing at the UW Health Pediatric Fitness Clinic. Her special interests include pediatric nutritional problems, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and indigenous diets and health. Dr. Adams places a special emphasis on working in partnership with families and children to help them make more healthful lifestyle choices. Dr. Adams’ research focuses on family- and community-based interventions for obesity prevention in underserved communities. She currently leads a family-based intervention project—Healthy Children, Strong Families—to reduce obesity and cardiac risk factors in American Indian children and their primary caregivers. This participatory research project, a partnership between four Wisconsin tribes, the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, and UW researchers, is a randomized controlled trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that examines the effect of a home visiting intervention on reducing metabolic risk and improving lifestyles for the children and their primary caregivers. Dr. Adams received her Ph.D. and M.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics.
Margaret Andrews, Ph.D., is an economist in the Food Assistance Branch of the Economic Research Service’s (ERS’s) Food Economics Division. Her research interests are in the areas of food security, food access, and par-
ticipation and impacts of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Prior to joining ERS, Dr. Andrews was at the Office of Analysis and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) where she designed and managed several large-scale evaluation projects, including the National Food Stamp Program Survey. Prior to going to USDA, she was a faculty member in the Department of Economics and Marketing at Rutgers University and a resident fellow at the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy at Resources for the Future. Dr. Andrews received a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California at Berkeley.
Maureen Black, Ph.D., M.A., is the John A. Scholl M.D. and Mary Louise Scholl M.D. Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the Growth and Nutrition Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic for children with poor growth and feeding problems. She is an adjunct professor in the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Black is a pediatric psychologist; she has been the president of the Society of Pediatric Psychology and the Division of Children, Youth, and Family Services of the American Psychological Association. She specializes in intervention research related to children’s nutrition, health, and development. She is a site principal investigator (PI) for Children’s HealthWatch and is conducting three NIH-funded intervention trials. She is chair of the Child Health Foundation, chair of the Maryland WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) Advisory Committee, and has served on committees for UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the Institute of Medicine. She has studied food insecurity among families of children from infancy through adolescence. Dr. Black received her Ph.D. from Emory University.
Commander Heidi Michels Blanck, Ph.D., M.S., U.S. Public Health Service, is chief of the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Dr. Blanck has more than 11 years of CDC experience as a public health epidemiologist and has authored more than 50 papers and reports in the areas of weight management, nutrition, physical activity, and environmental exposures. She currently oversees CDC’s monitoring of state obesity prevalence and key behavioral, environmental, and policy supports for obesity prevention and control. Staff within the branch focus on national, state, and local surveillance, applied research, and guidelines development related to the topics of body mass index (BMI) screening and counseling, sugar drinks, calorie-dense foods and snacks, television
viewing and screen time, water access, and food and beverage labeling across multiple settings (such as child care, schools, hospitals, worksites, and communities). Additional branch initiatives include a State Childcare Action Guide and a Healthy Hospital Pilot. She is senior adviser to CDC’s Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research & Evaluation Network and a member of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research. She received her Ph.D. in nutrition and health sciences from Emory University.
Paula Braveman, M.D., M.P.H., is professor of family and community medicine and director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). For more than two decades, Dr. Braveman has studied and published extensively on social disparities in health and health care, and she is actively engaged in bringing attention to this field in the United States and internationally. Her research has focused on measuring, documenting, and understanding socioeconomic and racial or ethnic disparities, particularly in maternal and infant health and health care. During the 1990s she worked with World Health Organization staff in Geneva to develop and implement a global initiative on equity in health and health care. She recently served as research director for a national commission on the social determinants of health, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with local, state, federal, and international health agencies to see rigorous research translated into practice with the goal of achieving greater equity in health. She has been a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences since her election in 2002. She received her M.D. and completed a residency in family medicine at UCSF, and she received an M.P.H. from the University of California at Berkeley.
Steven Carlson is director of the Office of Research and Analysis at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. He leads a multidisciplinary staff responsible for the development, design, and execution of policy research and analysis for the nation’s food assistance programs and for the preparation of legislative, regulatory, and cost analyses. He manages a portfolio of research contracts and grants worth more than $100 million that since 1989 has produced 300 analytical and technical reports to meet information needs of policy officials and program managers. He also led a 5-year partnership to create the first rigorous and comprehensive estimate of the extent of food insecurity in America, providing a critical benchmark to assess the performance of the nation’s investment in food assistance.
John Cook, Ph.D., M.A.Ed., is associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Cook is one of the PIs for Children’s HealthWatch, a multisite, multistate pediatric research center
that monitors the impacts of economic conditions and social policies on the health of vulnerable young children. His research interests include examining the effects of hunger, food security, and energy security on children’s health and well-being, and ways to increase access to affordable, healthful food. His current research is related to the effects of food insecurity at its lowest levels of severity, including “marginal food security”; the impacts of poverty-related stresses on cognitive development and brain growth in very young children; and global climate disruption and diminishing fossil-fuel supplies and their implications for low-income families’ economic viability, for food availability and affordability, and for public health. Dr. Cook received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.A.Ed. from Arizona State University.
Elizabeth Dowler, Ph.D., M.Sc., is professor of food and social policy in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick (UK) and is a registered public health nutritionist. She works on the social and policy aspects of food and nutrition and on poverty, nationally and internationally, drawing on science and social science in background, thinking, and practice. Her focus is on food, poverty, and inequalities, including local initiatives and policy evaluation; food security, rights, and justice; and “reconnection” to sustainable food systems, especially from consumers’ perspectives. She is a member and trustee of the Food Ethics Council, an independent research and advocacy group working to make the food system fairer and more healthful; she was involved in its recent Food and Fairness Inquiry. From 2008 to 2010 she was a member of the UK Defra’s Council of Food Policy Advisers. In 2008 she worked as a senior Marie Curie research fellow, in University College Dublin, on implementing a rights-based approach to poverty and food insecurity. Before going to Warwick, Dr. Dowler was based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, working in many parts of the world with health, agricultural, social, and planning sectors or for international agencies. Her work remains multi- and interdisciplinary. Dr. Dowler received her Ph.D. and M.Sc. from the University of London.
Craig Gundersen, Ph.D., is associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a member of the Division of Nutritional Sciences and a faculty affiliate of the Institute for Government and Public Affairs. Previously, he was at USDA’s Economic Research Service and at Iowa State University. Dr. Gundersen’s research is concentrated in four main areas: examinations of the efficacy of food assistance programs; analyses of the determinants of food insecurity and food assistance participation; examination of measurement issues pertaining to food insecurity and food as-
sistance participation; and analyses of the effects of food insecurity and stress on childhood obesity. Among others, he has published in the Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Health Economics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Nutrition, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, Demography, Journal of Population Economics, Food Policy, Obesity Reviews, and Journal of the American Dietetic Association. External funding for his work has come from, among other sources, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, ERS, Merck Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Census Bureau. Dr. Gundersen received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside.
Kenneth Hecht, J.D., is executive director of California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), which he co-founded in 1992. CFPA is a statewide nutrition policy and advocacy organization that works to improve the health and well-being of low-income Californians by increasing their access to nutritious, affordable food. CFPA focuses on state and federal policy advocacy to expand and strengthen the federal food programs to increase their capacity to prevent both food insecurity and obesity. Prior to co-founding CPFA, Mr. Hecht practiced law, mainly in legal services programs focusing on children’s rights and employment rights. After 3 years at a community foundation, he undertook consulting work dealing with hunger and food insecurity and private, nonprofit efforts to address those conditions. Mr. Hecht graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale Law School.
Colleen Heflin, Ph.D., M.P.P., is associate professor at the Truman School of Public Affairs, University of Missouri. She is affiliated with the Institute of Public Policy at the University of Missouri and the National Policy Center at the University of Michigan. Dr. Heflin’s work is informed by the study of processes that create systems and patterns of social stratification. However, because she is interested in how social policies affect the well-being of vulnerable populations, her work falls at the boundaries of sociology, economics, public health, public administration, and women’s studies. Her interdisciplinary research program focuses on understanding the survival strategies employed by low-income households to make ends meet, the implications of using these strategies for individual and household well-being, and how public policies influence well-being. A central focus of her work has been about understanding the causes and consequences of material hardship. Current projects examine how the populations using food stamps and unemployment insurance have changed with the recent recession; how economic shocks may impact the wealth of extended kin networks; and the quality, quantity, and composition of food provided by food pantries. Dr. Heflin received her Ph.D. and M.P.P. from the University of Michigan.
Amy Hillier, Ph.D., M.S.W., is assistant professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. She currently teaches courses on the application of geographic information systems (GIS) and on geography and public health at the University of Pennsylvania in the city planning, urban studies, social work, and public health programs. Her research focuses on the spatial analysis of public health disparities, including access to healthful foods, physical activity, and exposure to outdoor advertising. She has also used historical GIS methods to research mortgage redlining and W.E.B. Du Bois’ classic book, The Philadelphia Negro. She learned GIS and spatial statistical analysis skills through a stroke of good luck while receiving her Ph.D. and M.S.W. degrees in social welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work.
Sandra L. Hofferth, Ph.D., is professor in the Department of Family Science and director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the former co-director of the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics and founding director of its Child Development Supplement. Her research focuses on American children’s use of time; poverty, food insecurity, public assistance, and child health and development; and fathers and fathering. Dr. Hofferth is the author of more than 100 articles and 5 books, including the Handbook of Measurement Issues in Family Research (with Lynne Casper). She is vice president of the Population Association of America. Dr. Hofferth was awarded the Jensen Lectureship, jointly sponsored by the American Sociological Association and Duke University, for research contributing to social action, and the Research and Development Award from the School of Public Health, University of Maryland. Dr. Hofferth received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
David H. Holben, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., is professor and associate director of nutrition in the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness and acting associate dean in the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. His research focuses on food access and health outcomes in North America, especially as this relates to women and households in the Appalachian region of the United States. Dr. Holben received his Ph.D. in human nutrition from the Ohio State University.
Wendy Johnson-Askew, Ph.D., M.P.H., is public health nutrition and health policy adviser for the NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination. Prior to going to NIH, Dr. Johnson-Askew held a number of clinical nutrition management positions and nutrition faculty positions. Her areas of research interest include community nutrition intervention strategies, community efforts to reduce or eliminate health disparities, effective nutri-
tion communication strategies, and community-based anti-hunger efforts. Dr. Johnson-Askew has been actively involved in follow-up actions to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, and she speaks to a wide variety of audiences on the topic. Dr. Johnson-Askew received her Ph.D. and M.P.H. from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Sonya Jones, Ph.D., is deputy director of the Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities and assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Jones has research interests in the consequences of nutrition policies and programs for women and children. She has evaluated the effects of food assistance programs on women’s and children’s health and well-being. She has also conducted local policy experiments by partnering with youth to identify and develop school-level nutrition policies. Other research interests include alternative policy designs and their association with school and child changes. More recently, her work has focused on the family as the key policy and intervention target in nutrition, including partnering with a local rural community to evaluate parent advocacy in schools, using secondary data about family function to understand children’s weight status, and developing a weight loss intervention for women that are eligible for food assistance programs. Dr. Jones received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Allison Karpyn, Ph.D., is director of research and evaluation for The Food Trust in Philadelphia. Her research encompasses a range of environmental and policy strategies to improve dietary intake in underserved communities, such as approaches to operate farmers markets in low-income communities, and the study of in-store marketing approaches in supermarkets to promote consumer shifts from high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods to lower-calorie, improved nutrient-density foods. In addition to her position at The Food Trust, Dr. Karpyn teaches program planning and evaluation as well as community assessment courses in the M.P.H. and Dr.P.H. programs at Drexel University. She received her Ph.D. in policy research, evaluation and measurement from the University of Pennsylvania.
Barbara Laraia, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., is associate professor in the Department of Medicine and co-director of the Center for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment (COAST) at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Laraia is a public health nutrition investigator with a special interest in the relationships between food policy, the food environment, and health. She has expertise in qualitative methods, program evaluation, community-based research, and nutritional epidemiology. Her research
focuses on household food security status and neighborhood effects on diet, weight, perinatal outcomes, and other maternal and child health issues, especially among vulnerable populations. Her current projects include measurement issues of the food and physical activity environments; influences of the food environment on diet and weight among postpartum women; and understanding the role that tiendas (Latino grocery stores) play in diet quality among Latinos. She received her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Maria Melchior, Sc.D., is research fellow at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Villejuif, France. Her research focuses on lifelong social determinants of health, with a particular emphasis on common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance-related problems. Specifically, Dr. Melchior studies the role of social and economic factors at different stages of life in the risk of onset and persistence of mental disorders. Her work also examines the impact of mental disorders on individuals’ social, professional, and personal lives. Dr. Melchior is currently the principal investigator of the TEMPO study based in France, an epidemiological study investigating the roots of mental disorders among young adults. Prior to joining INSERM, Dr. Melchior received doctoral training in social epidemiology and public health from Harvard University and advanced postdoctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in London.
Pamela Morris, Ph.D., is professor of applied psychology in New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Dr. Morris’s research lies at the intersection of social policy and developmental psychology. Her program of research focuses on several areas of inquiry. First, she has led research on the effects of welfare and employment policies—and their subsequent effects on parents’ employment and income—on children. This research has had an impact on policy discussions at both state and federal levels, while contributing to developmental science as the first experimental evidence of the effects of increases in parents’ income on children’s development. To extend this line of research, she is currently conducting a study to understand how youth and their families are affected by conditional cash transfers as part of the MDRC’s Opportunity NYC Study, an initiative of Mayor Bloomberg’s Center for Economic Opportunity. Second, she is conducting a study to understand how low-income children are affected by parents’ depression, understanding the effects of material depression on children’s psychosocial, clinical, and physiological outcomes. Finally, she is the project director and co-PI of the Department of Health and Human Services Head Start CARES project. CARES is one of two large-scale cluster randomized trials that Dr. Morris is conducting
with researchers at MDRC assessing the effects of preschool intervention strategies aimed at improving children’s social-emotional development. Dr. Morris received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell University.
Mark Nord, Ph.D., M.S., is a sociologist at USDA’s Economic Research Service. For the past 10 years he has led the agency’s work on measuring and monitoring household food security and has conducted research on determinants of food security and on measurement of food security in the United States and in other countries. Previous work includes research on natural resources, rural poverty, and migration at ERS and at the Pennsylvania State University, and management of relief and development programs of a nongovernmental organization in Bangladesh. He received both a Ph.D. and an M.S. in rural sociology from the Pennsylvania State University.
Angela M. Odoms-Young, Ph.D., is assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to her current position, Dr. Odoms-Young was assistant professor of public and community health in the School of Allied Health Professions of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois. She completed a Family Research Consortium postdoctoral fellowship focused on understanding family processes in diverse populations at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Community Health Scholars fellowship in community-based research at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Her current research is focused on social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence dietary practices and related health outcomes (obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, for example) in African-American and low-income women. Other research areas of interest include qualitative research paradigms, examining relationships between religion and health, and community-based participatory research. Dr. Odoms-Young received a Ph.D. in community nutrition and an M.S. in human nutrition from Cornell University.
Carol Olander, Ph.D., is director of Family Programs Staff in the Office of Research and Analysis at the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. She and her staff are responsible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP)-related research, as well as budget and legislative analyses. This year’s activities incorporate a substantial research program targeted on key USDA goals: eliminating childhood hunger, reducing obesity, and expanding the farm-food connection in FNS programs. Before going to the Food and Nutrition Service in 1980, she conducted research and taught in university and community service settings. She received a Ph.D. in psychology from Northwestern University.
Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., is professor of epidemiology and public health and director, Office of Community Health, at the Yale School of Public Health. He is also director and principal investigator of the Connecticut National Institutes of Health EXPORT Center of Excellence for Eliminating Health Disparities Among Latinos (CEHDL). His public health nutrition and food security research has led to improvements in breastfeeding promotion, iron deficiency anemia among infants (by delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord after birth), household food security measurement and outcomes, and community nutrition education programs worldwide. His health disparities research involves assessing the impact of community health workers in improving behavioral and metabolic outcomes among Latinos with type 2 diabetes. He has published more than 100 research articles and 300 conference abstracts, book chapters, and technical reports. He is currently chair-elect of the American Society for Nutrition International Nutrition Council and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Nutrition, the Journal of Human Lactation, and the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. He served as a member of the 2009 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Gestational Weight Gain Guidelines and of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committee. Dr. Pérez-Escamilla received a Ph.D. in nutrition and an M.S. in food science from the University of California at Davis.
Janet Poppendieck, Ph.D., is professor of sociology at Hunter College, City University of New York. Her primary concerns, both as a scholar and as an activist, have been poverty, hunger, and food assistance in the United States. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Advisory Committees of City-as-School and the Welfare Rights Initiative. She is the author of Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression (Rutgers, 1986), Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement (Viking, 1998; Penguin paperback, 1999), and articles on hunger, food assistance, and public policy. Her new book, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America, was released by the University of California Press in 2010. She received her Ph.D. from the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis University.
Sara A. Quandt, Ph.D., is professor of epidemiology and prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on rural and minority populations, with particular emphasis on the health of immigrant workers and their families. This has included community-based participatory research approaches to understanding food behaviors and food insecurity in these vulnerable populations. She received the 2006 National Occupational Research Agenda
(NORA) Innovative Research Award for Worker Health and Safety and the 2007 Outstanding Rural Health Researcher Award of the National Rural Health Association. Dr. Quandt received her Ph.D. in anthropology, with a minor in nutrition, from Michigan State University.
Donald Diego Rose, Ph.D., M.P.H., is professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and director of the Prevention Research Center, Tulane University. Dr. Rose began his career as a project director/nutritionist for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for WIC Nutrition Program in a farm worker clinic in rural California. He worked for the Economic Research Service at USDA as a research team leader on the determinants and consequences of household food insecurity in America, the nutrition and health impacts of food assistance programs, and the evaluation of low-income nutrition education projects. He also worked internationally on food consumption and food security projects in Mozambique and South Africa. Dr. Rose’s research at Tulane focuses on the social and economic side of nutrition problems, including disparities in access to food, the links between food access and consumption, domestic and international food security, and the importance of the time dimension for U.S. nutrition policy. He has research projects funded by USDA and the National Cancer Institute on neighborhood access to healthful foods and its influence on consumption in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. Dr. Rose served on the National Research Council Panel to Review USDA’s Food Security Measurement and the IOM Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Actions for Local Governments. Dr. Rose received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics and M.P.H. in public health nutrition from the University of California at Berkeley.
Lila Rutten, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a behavioral scientist with SAIC, Inc. National Cancer Institute (NCI) Frederick, Maryland, in support of NCI’s Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch. Her current responsibilities include managing and coordinating the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), involvement in the dissemination efforts of the Centers for Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR), and supporting branch and program activities related to the role of health communication in shaping cancer-relevant behavior. Dr. Rutten has served as an active member of NCI’s team of scientists since 2001, when she joined NCI as a cancer prevention fellow. In addition to her work with NCI, Dr. Rutten currently serves as a methodological consultant to the Center for Human Nutrition and has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Augsburg College and in the Department of Behavioral Science at the College of Mount Saint Joseph. Dr. Rutten
received her Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University and her M.P.H. from Harvard University.
Marlene B. Schwartz, Ph.D., is deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. Prior to joining the Rudd Center, she served as co-director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders from 1996 to 2006. Dr. Schwartz’s research is focused on how home environments, communities, and school landscapes shape the eating attitudes and behaviors of children. She frequently collaborates on state projects with the Connecticut State Department of Education, including a large research study of Connecticut’s K-12 School Wellness Policies and a statewide assessment of preschool nutrition and physical activity policies. Dr. Schwartz was the recipient of a transition grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2008 to create a website based on the school wellness policy coding system that she developed with national colleagues. Her other areas of research include studies on the effect of food marketing directed at children and how the WIC program changes the accessibility and affordability of healthful foods in low-income neighborhoods. Dr. Schwartz received her Ph.D. and M.S. in psychology from Yale University. She completed her clinical internship at the Yale Medical School and postdoctoral training in the Yale Department of Psychology.
Joseph R. Sharkey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., is professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Health and director of the Program for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities, School of Rural Public Health (SRPH) at the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center in College Station, Texas. He is also director of the CDC-funded Texas Healthy Aging Research Network (TxHAN) Collaborating Center, director of the CDC-funded Texas Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network Collaborating Center, and director of the Program for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities at SRPH. Dr. Sharkey is currently principal investigator on three interdisciplinary research programs examining complex, place-based factors that may either enable or constrain rural and underserved families from achieving and maintaining good nutritional health: (1) Behavioral and Environmental Influence on Obesity: Rural Context & Race/Ethnicity, which is a 5-year project funded as part of a new NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities-funded Program for Rural and Minority Health Disparities Research at SRPH; (2) Core Research Program, Working with Rural and Underserved Communities to Promote a Healthy Food Environment, within the SRPH Center for Community Health Development, a Prevention Research Center; and (3) Influence of Mobile Food Vendors on Food and Beverage Choices of Low-Income Mexican American Children in Texas Colonias, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Healthy
Eating Research Program. He also serves as chair of the Senate Bill 343 Healthy Food Advisory Committee, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and Texas Department of Agriculture. Dr. Sharkey’s main areas of interest include food access and food choice in rural and under-served areas, measurement of household and neighborhood food environments, and nutritional and functional assessment. Dr. Sharkey received his Ph.D. and M.P.H. from the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kathleen Pickering Sherman, Ph.D., J.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Colorado State University, where she has been on the faculty since 1997. Before starting graduate school, she worked as a legal services attorney on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and she continues to conduct research there on household subsistence and community-based economic development. Her research interests include economic anthropology, traditional ecological knowledge, tribal community and economic development, collaborative ecosystem conservation and natural resource management, and the impacts of globalization on indigenous communities. Her current research focuses on integrative, culturally appropriate community-based development on three Lakota reservations in South Dakota. She is part of a 10-year poverty alleviation initiative funded by the Northwest Area Foundation through Cheyenne River Tribal Ventures. She works with a collaborative of reservation development practitioners to design a model for Native Entrepreneurship Development Systems, initially funded by the Kellogg Foundation. Her 7-year longitudinal study of household economic dynamics on the Pine Ridge Reservation, funded by the National Science Foundation, is providing baseline data for a wide variety of reservation development programs, including workforce development, small-business expansion, reservation regional planning, Lakota-based education models, and natural resource management. She has published a book entitled Lakota Culture, World Economy (University of Nebraska Press, 2000) and coauthored two books: Welfare Reform in Persistent Rural Poverty (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006) and Indigenous Peoples and the Collaborative Stewardship of Nature: Knowledge Binds and Institutional Conflicts (Left Coast Press, Inc., 2010). Dr. Sherman received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Gopal K. Singh, Ph.D., M.S., M.Sc., is senior epidemiologist with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Maryland. His research interests include social inequalities in health and mortality, child health disparities by ethnicity and socioeconomic depriva-
tion, obesity and physical activity, immigrant health, and spatial and time trends in cancer incidence and mortality. He has held research appointments at the National Cancer Institute, Kansas Health Institute, and National Center for Health Statistics. He has taught at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Ohio State University and has served as a statistical consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Government of Egypt. He has published extensively in the field of health inequalities, immigrant health, obesity and physical activity, minority health, cancer epidemiology, and maternal and child health. He is the recipient of the 2010 National Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Award for Advancing Knowledge. Dr. Singh holds a Ph.D. in sociology/demography from the Ohio State University; an M.S. in population planning from the University of Michigan; a post-master’s diploma in population studies from the International Institute for Population Sciences, Bombay; and an M.Sc. degree in statistics from India.
Thomas F. Slater is executive director of the Food Bank of Central New York and has held that position since 1995. The Food Bank of Central New York is recognized by Feeding America for its focus on nutrition and its outstanding food stamp outreach program. Mr. Slater is a founder and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Food Bank Association of New York State. He also serves on the National Council for Feeding America as the elected representative of the Eastern Region food banks.
Chery F. Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., is associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on how environment, age, socioeconomic status, culture, and food insecurity influence the nutritional status, dietary behavior, and health of selected populations (Native Americans, Hmong, African Americans, homeless individuals, veterans, and Sherpas). She is also particularly interested in the hunger-obesity relationship in the United States, food access by Minnesotans living in food deserts (places with limited food resources), and the anthropology of foods. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the Indiana University and her M.P.H. in nutrition from the University of Michigan.
Marion Standish, J.D., M.A., is director of The California Endowment’s Community Health Program. As director, she leads the foundation’s efforts to develop program and policy initiatives to improve community health and reduce health disparities. She has served as lead officer on many of The Endowment’s major funding initiatives, some of which have supported community coalitions to develop and implement policies and programs to reduce obesity. Ms. Standish serves as the convener for the National Con-
vergence Partnership, which brings funders together to pursue multisectoral policy and program efforts that support healthy people in healthy places. Previously, Ms. Standish served as senior program officer for The California Endowment. Prior to joining The Endowment, she was co-founder and director of California Food Policy Advocates, a statewide nutrition and health research and advocacy organization focusing on access to nutritious food for low-income families. Before launching CFPA, Ms. Standish served as director of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, a statewide advocacy organization focusing on health, education, and labor issues facing farm workers and the rural poor. Ms. Standish received a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law and an M.A. from New York University.
Valerie Tarasuk, Ph.D., is professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. Much of her research focuses on problems of domestic food insecurity, considering their origins and nutritional implications and examining current policy and program responses. Paralleling this focus on food security is an ongoing interest in Canadian food policy and population-level nutritional assessment. Her research activities have included a study of nutritional vulnerability among homeless youth in Toronto; an examination of local responses to the food and nutrition needs of homeless groups; a study of the relationship between housing, neighborhood characteristics, and food access among a sample of 500 low-income families in Toronto; and an analysis of national survey data to examine nutrition disparities in Canada. Currently she is engaged in a pan-Canadian study of food charity and an examination of nutrition- related food marketing in Canadian supermarkets. Dr. Tarasuk served on the IOM Subcommittee on Interpretation and Use of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Committee on Use of Dietary Reference Intakes in Nutrition Labeling. She was also a member of the External Advisory Panel for the Food Directorate Review of Policies on the Addition of Vitamins and Minerals to Foods in Canada and Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Committee on Dietary Reference Intakes. Dr. Tarasuk earned her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto.
Laurian J. Unnevehr, Ph.D., M.A., is director of the Food Economics Division in the Economic Research Service of USDA. She manages a division of more than 50 professional economists who conduct research on food demand, food assistance, diet and health, food safety, and food markets; and she administers ERS investments in consumer data and in extramural research on food assistance programs. Prior to joining ERS in 2008, Dr. Unnevehr was on the faculty of the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from
1985 to 2008. Dr. Unnevehr is recognized for original contributions in food demand and food policy evaluation. In 2009, she was made a fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Dr. Unnevehr received a Ph.D. and M.A. from the Food Research Institute, Stanford University.
James Weill, J.D., has been president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) since February 1998. FRAC is a leading anti-hunger public policy group in America, using research, policy advocacy, coalition building, and public education to combat hunger and improve nutrition for low-income people. He has devoted his entire professional career to reducing hunger and poverty, protecting the legal rights of children and poor people, and expanding economic security, income, and nutrition support programs and health insurance coverage. Prior to joining FRAC, he was at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) as program director and general counsel, leading CDF’s efforts to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid, and other programs. Mr. Weill is a member of the boards of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Watch and the National Center for Youth Law. He serves on advisory councils to the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and to Wider Opportunities for Women. He has served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the UNICEF Executive Board. He received his J.D. from New York University.