Friedman Seminar: Food Insecurity in the U.S.- Not for Profit Solutions and Research

seminar poster

A panel discussion on panel on food insecurity and interventions moderated by Professor Norbert Wilson.


Food insecurity is a significant problem in the United States: an estimated 12.3% or 15.6 million households were food insecure in 2016 (Coleman-Jensen et al 2017). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formally known as the Food Stamp Program) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), are key federal programs that help people who are food insecure purchase foods. However, an important network of not for profit food organizations exist in the U.S. Locally, the Greater Boston Food Bank and their pantries and soup kitchens are community-based programs that provide donated foods and meals to families from low-income households throughout eastern Massachusetts.  Community Servings provides medically-tailored meals to individuals with low income and chronic or critical illnesses. The panel discussion with researchers and representatives of these organizations will explore the role of these organizations in providing foods to their clients, their efforts to provide or encourage good nutrition, and potential research collaborations between Friedman and these and similar groups.

Speaker Bios

Kathryn Brodowski, MD, MPH, Senior Director, Health and Research

Dr. Kathryn Brodowski is the Senior Director of Health and Research at The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). As the first to hold this position, Dr. Brodowski is responsible for creating partnerships between GBFB and local hospitals and community health centers to connect those in need with healthy food and other critical resources, bridging the gap between hunger and health. With support from GBFB’s Food Security Task Force, Brodowski translates research being done across the country into evidence-based programs to provide healthy food for those in need. Brodowski is a preventive medicine physician who specializes in food insecurity and nutrition. She oversees both program and research at GBFB. Through her leadership she has developed program partnerships with several healthcare entities and has free produce mobile markets in operation at 6 partner medical center sites (community health centers and VA). Brodowski is also spearheading the development of GBFB’s collaborative research model. Rather than duplicating the wheel, GBFB will continue to leverage our core strength– food. By providing food interventions, GBFB aims to work with local research/medical institutions on collaborative research projects to demonstrate health and cost outcomes. Brodowski received her medical degree from University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and her MPH in nutrition from UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at UMass Medical School, where she teaches an annual food insecurity clerkship, and serves on the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Katie S. Martin, PhD

Dr. Katie Martin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Saint Joseph. In January 2018, she will start a new job as the Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Foodshare, a regional foodbank in CT. Her research focuses on the connection between hunger and health, and finding sustainable solutions to food insecurity. Her recent research involved a randomized control trial of an innovative food pantry program, and creating a stoplight nutrition ranking system called Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP). Katie earned a Ph.D. in Nutrition Science & Policy from the Friedman School at Tufts University. 

Alison Schissler MS, RD

Alison has more than eight years of nutrition experience working as a registered dietitian in both the clinical and community settings. She has a BS from Penn State University and a Master’s degree in Nutrition from Long Island University. As the Manager of Nutrition Services at Community Servings, a medically-tailored meals program, Alison is devoted to spreading her love of food and nutrition to help others treat and prevent chronic diseases. Currently, Community Servings is involved in research efforts to determine the effect of medically-tailored meals on health-related outcomes and healthcare costs. 



Wednesday, December 06, 2017 at 12:15 PM


Wednesday, December 06, 2017 at 1:15 PM


Behrakis Auditorium
The Jaharis Center
150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111


Name: Jen Zahradnick
Phone: 617-636-3773


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