Healthy Food Access Lab

Focus on Healthy Food Access (2014-2015)

The Healthy Food Access Lab, launched in Fall 2014 and continuing through Spring 2015, investigates community-based and food systems approaches to increasing access to healthy food and reducing obesity, food insecurity, and hunger.  The Lab aims to reduce food insecurity and improve the nutritional health and well-being of individuals through behavior changes, increased healthy food access enabled by improved socio-environmental conditions, and improved program delivery or policy structures.

This Lab is co-chaired by Kim Gans, Professor, School of Public Health and Director, Institute for Community Health Promotion; and Courtney Bourns, Senior Program Officer, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation.

The Lab is broken up into three work groups:

  • Fresh-to-You Team, led by Kim Gans: TRI-Lab participants in this work group are developing and implementing ways in which the Fresh-to-You program could be improved and become self-sustaining. Fresh To You is an innovative, public-private partnership program that brings discount, fresh fruit and vegetable markets to convenient locations.
  • Food as Medicine Team, led by Mary Flynn: The Food as Medicine project is a cooking class that is part of the Healing Foods Program at McAuley House. The 6-week cooking program includes weekly nutrition lessons on how food can be used to improve chronic disease risk factors for type 2 diabetes and decrease food insecurity. TRI-Lab work group members are designing future programs for improving risk factors for chronic diseases and food insecurity in a low-income population for the Food as Medicine food pantry and kitchen. 
  • Data and Public Policy Team, led by Dawn King, Allen Hance, and Courtney Bourns: Working with the Policy Committee of the RI Food Policy Council and representatives from state agencies and select stakeholder groups, this TRI-Lab work group is developing briefing documents for elected officials in Rhode Island. 

Faculty
Kim Gans: Professor, School of Public Health and Director, Institute for Community Health Promotion
Mary Flynn: Professor of Medicine (Clinical)
Dawn King: Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Allen Hance: Director, TRI-Lab and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Community Partners
Courtney Bourns: Senior Program Officer, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation
Gemma Gorham: Project Director, Institute of Community Health Promotion, School of Public Health
Ellen Cynar: Program Manager, Healthy Communities Program, City of Providence
Peter Simon: Medical Director, Rhode Island Department of Health
Eliza Lawson: Program Manager, Physical Nutrition Program at the Rhode Island Department of Health
Andrew Schiff: Chief Executive Officer, Rhode Island Community Food Bank
Julius Kolawola: President, African Alliance of Rhode Island
Sheila Brush: Director of Programs, Grow Smart Rhode Island, Member, Rhode Island Food Policy Council
Jesse Rye: Co-executive Director, Food System Enterprise at Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Akilah Dulin Keita: Assistant Professor, School of Public Health at Brown University, affiliate of the Institute for Community Health Promotion
Jessica David: Vice President of Strategy and Community Investments, Rhode Island Foundation
Robert Yaffe: Owner, The Grange Restaurant
Ludovica Principato: PhD Candidate, Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome

Students
Jenna Anders '16, Environmental Studies and Economics
Blain Anderson '16, Economics and Biology
Lauren Behgam '15, Environmental Studies
Alexis Berry '17,  Public Health and Africana Studies
Benjamin Chesler '15, Economics and Social Innovation
Jana Foxe '16,  Political Science, *Summer Fellow at African Alliance of Rhode Island
Marina Hernandez '15, Public Policy
Christina Hom '15, Master's in Public Health, *Summer Fellow at ProvPlan/RI Food Policy Council
Taylor Lanzet '15, Environmental Studies
Kelly McGlynn '15, Environmental Studies, *Summer Fellow as Research Assistant to Dawn King
Meagan Miller '15, Environmental Studies, *Summer Fellow at Fresh to You
Carlie Peters '16, Environmental Studies, *Summer Fellow at Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Sarah Peters'16, Public Health, *Summer Fellow at TRI-Lab
Emma Phillips '17, Undeclared
Mya Roberson '16, Public Health
Taylor Viggiano '17, Undeclared
Neil Worthore, Applied Math
Jeremy Wortzel '16, Biology  

* Six students from the 2014-2015 Healthy Food Access Lab received paid summer fellowships from TRI-Lab to work in community organizations.