About NFACT

Arizona - Statewide

Francesco Acciai

Arizona State University

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.

Erin Biehl

Tom Evans

University of Arizona

Dr. Tom Evans is a professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment at the University of Arizona - his research focuses on social-ecological analysis, governance and food security with an emphasis on household-level decision-making and adaptation.

Kaitlyn Harper, MA, MSc

Johns Hopkins University

Kaitlyn Harper, MA, MSc, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her main research focuses on the effect of food insecurity on adolescent diet quality and food acquisition behaviors. She is passionate about social justice and food justice and works to amplify voices of historically oppressed populations by conducting community-based research.

Anna Josephson

University of Arizona

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.

Roni Neff, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

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.

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

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.

Joelle Robinson

Johns Hopkins University

Joelle Robinson is a PhD student in the Department of Health Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As a public health professional for the past ten years, Joelle has worked in local and federal government including the Food and Drug Administration, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), and the DC Department of Health Community Health Administration, implementing programs, evaluations, and conducting research to inform policy. She also works in community with black farmers and organizers on food sovereignty and food justice issues within the District of Columbia and the Mid-Atlantic region. Through recent participation in the Culture of Health Leaders program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Joelle co-developed SouthEats, a cooperatively owned healthy meal-delivery business currently being piloted. Joelle hopes to combine her practical experiences with advanced theoretical and methodological training to facilitate community participatory approaches that directly inform the development and transformation of government and institutional policies, while building the capacity of both target communities and policy and program implementers.

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