About NFACT

Executive Team
Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 4.29.39 PM.png

Dr. Meredith T. Niles is an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, affiliated Faculty in the Food Systems Program, and a Fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. She also serves as the lead of the National Food Access and COVID research Team (NFACT). Her research explores sustainable food security through the perspective of people and policy. She primarily focuses on understanding farmer and food system actors’ adoption of sustainable behaviors and the effect of disasters and extreme events (e.g. climate change, COVID-19) on food security. She is passionate about open access research, promoting transparency in scientific collaborations, and making academic research accessible and useable for policymakers and stakeholders.

Meredith T. Niles, PhD
 
University of Vermont
Meredith T. Niles, PhD
University of Vermont
Emily B 112020.jpg

Dr. Emily Belarmino is an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and a faculty member in the Food Systems program.  She conducts applied research that informs decision-making in food systems and public health.  Her research explores social, economic, and environmental determinants of food security and dietary intake and how food-related policies and programs can be leveraged to improve diet quality, human health, and food system sustainability.   

Emily Belarmino (née Morgan), PhD, MPH
University of Vermont
Emily Belarmino (née Morgan),
PhD, MPH
University of Vermont
Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 4.47.31 PM.png

Dr. Farryl Bertmann is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and a faculty member of the Food Systems Program. Her research examines food security & nutrition assistance programs, inclusive and equitable approaches to community-based nutrition, and global food sovereignty. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with broad ecological training which includes degrees in Wildlife Biology, Applied Biology-Horticulture, and Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Wellness.

Farryl Bertmann  PhD, RDN, CD
 
University of Vermont
Farryl Bertmann
PhD, RDN, CD
University of Vermont
Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 11.16.09 AM.pn

Dr. Roni Neff is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health & Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a program director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, an academic center focused on food systems and public health. Her research and teaching focus on food system resilience and environmental sustainability, with emphasis on equity and evidence-informed policy. Within NFACT, she serves on the executive team, co-leads the national survey (to be run 5x over one year), is running the survey in Maryland, and is working with the Albany, NY team on an adapted version. Her COVID-19 projects beyond NFACT include leading a national survey of food system workers, and contributing to creation of indicators to track food system impacts and resilience.

Roni Neff, PhD
 
Johns Hopkins University
Roni Neff, PhD
 
Johns Hopkins University
Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 11.16.29 AM.pn
Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD
 
Arizona State University
Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD
 
Arizona State University

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD, is a professor of nutrition at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University, where she leads the ASU Food Environment and Policy research group. Her research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and local organizations, examines social determinants of health, specifically in low-income minority communities. She studies the impact of federal, state, and local policies in shaping environments in school settings and in communities. Her work assesses the influence of access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity on health outcomes and associated behaviors. She teaches graduate-level courses and mentors students interested in exploring public health approaches for improving healthy food access, eating behaviors, and health outcomes.

Francesco Acciai.jpg

Dr. Francesco Acciai obtained his PhD in Sociology and Demography from Penn State and is now a Research Scholar in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. His research has mostly focused on the social dimensions of health; in particular, how health systematically differs across socioeconomic status, sex, as well as racial and ethnic groups. As part of the Food Policy and Environment Research Group (https://asufoodpolicy.org/), he has worked on several NIH-funded projects examining food policy, community and school food environment, in relation to children’s health behaviors and weight outcomes.

Francesco Acciai, PhD
 
Arizona State University
Francesco Acciai, PhD
 
Arizona State University
Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 11.16.20 AM.pn

Dr. Anna Josephson, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Arizona. She is an applied economist, with research in areas of risk, economic development, food security, and agriculture. Her research explores the relationships between individuals and their risky environments and investigates how households and small firms make decisions to ensure survival under challenging conditions.

Anna Josephson, PhD
 
University of Arizona
Anna Josephson, PhD
 
University of Arizona