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Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities

Creating a culture of health through policies and programs where people live, work, learn, play, and worship.

Our Work

Our research focuses on methods of facilitating changes, from the individual level to system-wide policies, to support healthy behaviors, increase access to healthy foods and physical activity, and reduce risk factors that contribute to chronic disease.

Social Ecological Model: 1) Public policy 2) Community t3) Organizational 4) Interpersonal 5) Individual

Utilizing both the Social Ecological Model (Bronfenbrenner, 1977) and Equity-Oriented Obesity Prevention Framework (Kumanyika, 2019), our work takes place in a variety of settings such as schools, corner stores, and faith-based communities.

Our goal is to examine and affect the different levels of influence that can improve the health and food environment, leading to improved health outcomes and increased resources and capacity in underserved communities.

We address the needs of the individual and community within the social, economic, and cultural contexts where people live, work, learn, and worship.

The current landscape

In the District of Columbia, as well as across the country, where one lives has a significant impact on the opportunities to live a long and healthful life. We’ve often heard the statement “Your zip code may be more important than your genetic code for health.”

Our work is focused in Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, DC, where residents face higher rates of health disparities across many health markers.

News & Notes

July 2021: The Healthy Schoolhouse 2.0 team, including Lauren Kohls, Dr. Melissa Hawkins, Sarah Little, Robin McClave, Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson and Dr. Stacey Snelling, presented at the virtual poster session of the American School Health Association’s (ASHA) annual conference held July 19-21. The poster titled “Empowering Teachers to Support Healthy Students and Healthy Learners: Healthy Schoolhouse 2.0” was selected as the 2021 recipient of the ASHA Student Poster Award. Congratulations Lauren and Sarah!

June 2021: Gaby Seltzer, DC Central Kitchen, and Robin McClave, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities, presented virtually at the Just Food Conference hosted by the Culinary Institute of America & New York University. The panel focused on Systemic Racism and Place and shared findings from DCCK’s SNAP matching incentive program in corner stores on produce purchases in underserved areas of DC.

May 2021: Dr. Melissa Hawkins, Hannah Fuchs, Erin Watts, Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson and Dr. Stacey Snelling published the Development of a Nutrition Literacy Survey for Use Among Elementary School Students in Communities with High Rates of Food Insecurity in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental NutritionThe nutrition literacy survey was developed as part of our Healthy Schoolhouse 2.0 program and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture  [2017-68001-26356].

April 2021:  Congratulations to Dr. Anastasia M. Snelling, recipient of the 2021 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Collaborative Scholarship! Dr. Snelling was also recognized for the milestone anniversary of 25 years of service.

April 2021: Drs. Snelling and Hagerdorn wrote in The Conversation about how expanded access to SNAP can help reduce food insecurity faced by college students and support educational achievement.

Healthy Schools

Read about our Healthy Schools work.

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Healthy Communities

Read about our Healthy Communities work.

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