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Kristen Cooksey Stowers, PhD | HP X CHIBE Hybrid Research Seminar

April 13, 2023

| 12:00 pm ‐ 1:00 pm | Hybrid
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Blockley Hall
1104 Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Event Description

Advancing Health Equity via Community-Based Participatory Policy Research on Neighborhood Food and Built Environments

Attendees may attend virtually. Zoom link here.

This presentation includes the following:

  • A summary of equity-oriented frameworks showing neighborhood food and built environments as key structural determinants of diet-related health disparities (e.g., obesity) and intersectoral action as a key tenet of evidence-based strategies to alleviate health inequities.
  • Conceptual frameworks highlighting the interconnectedness of neighborhood food environments and other key structural and social determinants of health (SDOH) at the neighborhood level (e.g., housing, transportation, wealth inequality).
  • An overview of neighborhood food swamps and mechanisms linking neighborhood food swamps to obesity and diet-related health inequities.
  • A case study of the federally- designated North Hartford Promise Zone as an example of leveraging Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to inform intersectoral, resident-driven neighborhood revitalization efforts. The goal of this CBPR Policy Research and intersectoral partnerships are to advance health equity and racial equity via a multi-pronged neighborhood investment strategy centered in dismantling food swamps, developing a more just, food environment, and addressing other neighborhood-level SDOH more broadly.
  • Opportunities for future research to fill knowledge gaps about the effects of neighborhood-level interventions and investments on health equity, particularly for Black and Latinx Americans as well as other historically oppressed groups.

Dr. Kristen Cooksey Stowers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Health at the University of Connecticut. She has a strong background in health equity, agricultural economics, public policy, and medical sociology. Her research focuses on upstream structural policy, systems, and environmental solutions (e.g., neighborhoods, food systems) to dismantle structural racism as a fundamental cause of diet-related health inequities. Dr. Cooksey Stowers’ research in the federally-designated North Hartford Promise Zone (NHPZ) leverages Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methods to develop and validate the Food Swamp Environment Audit Tool (FS-EAT), explore linkages between neighborhood food swamps and other social determinants of health (e.g., food insecurity, housing, transportation, race, immigrant status), and the impact of food swamps on racial/ethnic inequities in diet quality, health, and well-being. She was recently awarded a 5-year NIH grant to conduct a CBPR Mixed-Methods project examining the relationships between neighborhood investments in the NHPZ (to alleviate food swamps and improve other social determinants of health), parents’ food and beverage shopping habits, Black and Latinx  parents’ neighborhood satisfaction and perceived food access, and diet quality and food preferences among young children (ages 2-5). Additional ongoing projects include i.) authentic resident engagement and inclusive public policy processes (e.g., food policy councils, zoning) to advance health equity, and 2.) impacts of interventions within consumer food environments (e.g., quick-service/fast food restaurants, food pantries, family child care homes) on health risks in food-insecure populations, communities of color, and other historically marginalized groups.


CHIBE, Health Policy