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The Friedman School pursues cutting-edge research and education from cell to society, including in molecular nutrition, human metabolism, population studies, clinical trials, nutrition interventions and behavior change, communication, food systems and sustainability, global food insecurity, humanitarian crises, and food economics and policy.
Erin Hennessy is Director ad interim of ChildObesity180 and Assistant Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Medical School at Tufts University. Dr. Hennessy has focused her career on helping all children eat better, move more and achieve a healthy weight with a particular emphasis on helping those most in need. Her work addresses modifiable risk factors across levels of influence including the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community and public policy.
Dr. Hennessy is an action-oriented scientist seeking to generate new knowledge through collaboration with diverse communities that can support policy, system and environmental change at the local, state, and federal levels. In her role as Director ad interim of ChildObesity180, Dr. Hennessy oversees research, administrative, and financial activity. She steers overall strategy and leads the team in developing initiatives to support child nutrition and physical activity. She currently leads an active research portfolio including an $8.5 million award to test and evaluate the use of telehealth innovations in delivery of USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and, co-leads a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, in partnership with the New York Road Runners organization, to create and implement a multilevel intervention to support children’s physical literacy at school and home. She is also the PI of several pilot studies focused on nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention in early childhood.
Before being appointed to the Faculty at Tufts, Dr. Hennessy was a Senior Behavioral Scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health where she led the FLASHE Study (Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health and Eating Study), one of the largest national studies to understand cancer preventive health behaviors among parent-child dyads. During her tenure at NIH, Dr. Hennessy received numerous awards for her research and leadership excellence. Dr. Hennessy has significant cross-sector experience ranging from industry to government to academia and uses this perspective to inform her work at ChildObesity180.
Dr. Hennessy earned a PhD in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition and MS in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School; an MPH from Tufts University School of Medicine; and a BS in Biology and certificate in Community Health from Tufts University
PhD, Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
MS, Nutrition Communication, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Tufts University School of Medicine