Healthy Food Access Lab

Focus on Healthy Food Access (2014-2015)

The Healthy Food Access Lab, launched in Fall 2014 and continuing through Spring 2015, investigated community-based and food systems approaches to increasing access to healthy food and reducing obesity, food insecurity, and hunger.  The Lab aimed to reduce food insecurity and improve the nutritional health and well-being of individuals through behavior changes, increased healthy food access enabled by improved socio-environmental conditions, and improved program delivery or policy structures.

This Lab was co-chaired by Kim Gans, Professor, School of Public Health and Director, Institute for Community Health Promotion; and Courtney Bourns, Senior Program Officer, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation.

The Lab was broken up into three work groups:

  • Fresh-to-You Team, led by Kim Gans: TRI-Lab participants in this work group are developed and implemented ways in which the Fresh-to-You program could be improved and become self-sustaining. Fresh To You is an innovative, public-private partnership program that brings discount, fresh fruit and vegetable markets to convenient locations.
  • Food as Medicine Team, led by Mary Flynn: TRI-Lab work group members designed cooking and nutrition programs for improving risk factors for chronic diseases and food insecurity in a low-income population for the Food as Medicine food pantry and kitchen. 
  • Data and Public Policy Team, led by Dawn King, Allen Hance, and Courtney Bourns: Working with the Policy Committee of the RI Food Policy Council and representatives from state agencies and select stakeholder groups, this TRI-Lab work group developed briefing documents for elected officials in Rhode Island. 

Faculty
Kim Gans: Professor, School of Public Health and Director, Institute for Community Health Promotion
Mary Flynn: Professor of Medicine (Clinical)
Dawn King: Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Allen Hance: Director, TRI-Lab and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Community Partners
Courtney Bourns: Senior Program Officer, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation
Gemma Gorham: Project Director, Institute of Community Health Promotion, School of Public Health