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.
Dr. Hennessy works with ChildObesity180 to advance their research and evaluation activities and scholarship.
Prior to joining the Friedman Faculty, Dr. Hennessy was a Senior Behavioral Scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health. In this role she provided scientific support and management to the Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. During her tenure, she led multiple research activities aimed to incorporate novel methodologies into behavioral research. She oversaw the implementation and dissemination of NCI's Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health and Eating Study the first study of multiple cancer preventive health behaviors from a dyadic (parent-child) perspective; provided content and technical policy expertise for NCI’s Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (C.L.A.S.S.), a public-use resource of state-level codified laws for physical education and nutrition in schools; and, led several systems modeling activities including the design and delivery of short-courses in complex systems modeling, application of a systems approach to energy balance and dietary patterns research, and a case study of statistical and computational modeling approaches using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health.
Dr. Hennessy was a former recipient of NCI’s Cancer Prevention Fellowship Award, a postdoctoral training program. As a Cancer Prevention Fellow she received several NIH merit awards for her research and leadership. Prior to her career at NCI/NIH, she was a New Balance Fellow at the Friedman School where she oversaw multiple federal- and NGO-funded research projects on disease prevention and health promotion. In addition to her public sector work, she also has experience in the private sector. As a program manager at Stonyfield Farm, a leading organic yogurt company, she designed and implemented grassroots programs to get healthier foods into schools nationwide. Her passion is working with at-risk communities to promote health through better nutrition and physical activity and training the next generation of leaders and engaged citizens.
Dr. Hennessy holds a doctoral degree in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition and a master of Nutrition Communication degree from the Friedman School, a master of Public Health degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, and undergraduate degrees in Biology and Community Health from Tufts University.