Who We Are

brittany badgerBrittany Badger, Ph.D. candidate, CHES

Department: Health Promotion and Education
Contact: b.k.badger@utah.edu
Research Summary: I study the role that food environments, cultural diversity, and perceptions play within social food movements and how that influences health. I am interested in how food justice is integrated within these movements and beliefs among culturally diverse groups.

Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Food justice and access
  • Food culture
  • Sustainabiliity

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • H EDU 3050 Community Health Issues

Please contact me about food-related student projects and opportunities.


chelsea ratcliff bush

Chelsea Ratcliff Bush, Graduate Student

Department: Health Communication
Contact: chelsea.ratcliff.bush@utah.edu
Research Summary: I'm interested in health communication, especially message effects and media presentation of health issues and medical research.

Interest Areas:

  • Science journalism
  • Mass media
  • Health communication
  • Food and beverage marketing

Food Related Courses:

  • Graduate Student, Health Communication and Technology Lab

adrienne cachelinAdrienne Cachelin, Ph.D.

Department: Environmental and Sustainability Studies; Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
Contact: adrienne.cachelin@health.utah.edu
Research Summary: My projects revolve around community engaged research in food access and food justice.



Interest Areas:

  • Sustainability
  • Health and nutrition
  • Food justice and access
  • Food systems

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • PRT/NUTR/ENVST 5650/6650 Eating for Justice Sustainability and Health

Please contact me about food-related student projects and opportunities.


brian coddingBrian Codding, Ph.D.

Department: Anthropology
Contact: brian.codding@anthro.utah.edu
Research Summary: My research examines the ways in which populations forage for wild resources and how these food acquisition strategies alter the environment. Current projects examine North American and Australian human-environmental dynamics in ethnographic and archaeological contexts.

Interest Areas:

  • Sustainability
  • Health and nutrition
  • Human ecology

placeholderDavid S. Derezotes, Ph.D.

Department: Social Work
Contact: david.derezotes@socwk.utah.edu
Research Summary: Primary area of scholarship is building models of social work practice from an ecobiopsychosocialspiritual perspective. This perspective views people as "body-mind-spirit" organisms and views the well being of the individual as interrelated to the well being of all of humanity, all living things, and the ecosystems that support all life. For example, he has addressed the physical and mental health benefits gained by people who grow their own food.

Interest Areas:

  • Growing, aging and refugee populations
  • Social justice, diversity
  • Diet, Exercise

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Peace & Conflict
  • Integrative Seminar
  • Dialogue Models

placeholderJoanna Paulson Ganning, Ph.D.

Department: City and Metropolitan Planning
Contact: joanna.ganning@utah.edu
Research Summary: Dr. Manning's projects aim to provide data-driven analyses of potential responses to issues of vacancy, disinvestment, and redevelopment, and to understand the demographic and economic mechanisms at play in urban areas. Dr. Manning studies focus on economic development mechanisms related to specific industries, potentially including food-related industries. Dr. Ganning also works on issues relating to coupled human-natural systems, focusing primarily on the relationships between economic development and natural resource management.

Interest Areas:

Dr. Ganning engages in research at multiple spatial scales. At the regional scale, she is particularly interested in the mountain regions of Central Appalachia and the Intermountain West. At the place level, Dr. Ganning's work studies cities as a whole and their downtowns specifically. While her work to date has focused on cities across the U.S., she is interested in pursuing comparative work with European cities.


kathryn graceKathryn Grace, Ph.D.

Department: Geography
Contact: grace@geog.utah.edu
Research Summary: I work on food insecurity, agriculture, and health (women's and children's) in the developing world. I primarily focus on how people and the environment interact to impact health outcomes related to nutrition.

Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Food justice and access
  • Food culture
  • Food systems

john hurdleJohn F. Hurdle, MD, Ph.D.

Department: Biomedical Informatics
Contact: john.hurdle@utah.edu
Research Summary: I am a professor of Biomedical Informatics with over 25 years' experience in combined software development and informatics research. Over the course of my career, I have been interested in health services research, patient safety research (especially adverse drug event research), and more recently in clinical natural language processing (NLP). Much of my research time since 2004 has been spent improving clinical NLP technology. I intend to maintain a research presence in clinical NLP, but five years ago I was introduced to the nascent field of "nutrition informatics," where I now see the potential that nutrition informatics holds to improve health outcomes both in personalized medicine and in population health.

Our Nutrition Data Mining lab has developed two methods for estimating the quality of food purchased at grocery stores. One is pegged to the USDA Food Plans, and we hope to use it to steer households to a healthier home food environment. The other is pegged to the NCI/USDA Healthy Eating Index, and it can be used to assess food quality at the household or the public-health level.
Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Food Systems

Food Related Courses I Teach:
None at this time

Please contact me about food-related student projects and opportunities.


kristine jordanKristine Jordan, Ph.D., RD

Department: Nutrition
Contact: kristine.jordan@hsc.utah.edu
Research Summary: My research areas of interest include nutrition informatics, obe-sity prevention, and pediatric nutrition. Specifically, I have collaborated on research projects to: 1) refine a set of dietary pattern metrics from real-time food purchase patterns for integration into the electronic health record and 2) test a grocery store database as a household dietary assessment methodology.
Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition

tahmina martellyTahmina Martelly, Instructor (Lecturer)

Department: Nutrition
Contact: cheftah@gmail.com
Research Summary: I am a part time instructor at the U and teaches three sections of Cultural Aspects of Food, which seeks to engage undergraduate students in a meaningful way. Since most refugees are under employed, majority of their income goes towards rent, utilities and transportation costs, leaving very little for food. Helping refugees have proper training in skills that lead to viable employment is a huge tool in improving food security and access. Since I came to this country as an asylee, I experienced these issues first hand, and my work is geared toward granting these communities access to the aforementioned skills and real food.

Interest Areas:

I volunteer and manage community supported food banks in the Liberty Park area and also with the Utah Dream Center in Glendale. Both of these areas are food deserts with housing that is available that is clean and safe however grocery stores are over a mile away, a challenge for those relying on public transportation. I am also is active within the refugee community, and has developed the $3 meals from around the world classes, to address food insecurity within these populations.

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • NUTR 3620-003 Cultural Aspects Of Food
  • Redefining Health and Wellness HONORS Praxis Lab

Please contact me about food-related student projects and opportunities.

* Tahmina also piloted and wrote a curriculum for adults who are learning and using computers for the very first time. Primarily refugee learners. It is a 16 class, 8 week course targeting ESL learners, and will be taught at the Utah Refugee Center through a TANF grant.\
* Tahmina has developed the $3 meals from around the world classes. These are hands on cooking classes for refugees to cook culturally appropriate and healthy meals within SNAP budget. The concept was so popular with students at the U that she offers these classes twice every semester in the HPER foods labs


marsha maxwellMarsha Maxwell, Graduate Teaching Assistant (Writing and Rhetoric Studies)

Department: Ph.D. Student in the Department of Communication
Contact: marsha.maxwell@utah.edu
Research Summary: I've written about food for Deseret News National and About.com, and have a healthy cooking blog under development. I helped develop and pilot a food-themed, technology-enhanced version of Writing 2010 for the Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies. My dissertation research focuses on online mediated definitions of healthy food by the lay public, food experts such as chefs and bloggers, food corporations, and government officials.

Interest Areas:

  • Food and social media
  • Food labeling and perception
  • Corporate participation in food discourse
  • Official, public definitions of healthy food

Please contact me about food-related student projects and opportunities.


julie metosJulie Metos, Ph.D., RD

Department: Nutrition
Contact: julie.metos@hsc.utah.edu
Research Summary: I study the role of food in chronic disease prevention specifically obesity and diabetes. Much of my work aims to identify policy and practice changes that can be made at school and in families to improve adolescent nutrition and physical activity. I am also involved in work place diabetes prevention for adults.

Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Food policy
  • Food systems

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • NUTR 6210 Food Management and Leadership
  • Redefining Health and Wellness HONORS Praxis Lab

Please contact me about food-related student projects and opportunities.


charlene orchard

Charlene Orchard, MPA, Ph.D. Candidate

Department: Political Science
Contact: cdorchard@gmail.com
Research Summary: I am interested in the new food movements as interventions in the existing political economy generally, and the industrial food system more specifically. Nonprofit organizations are frequently at the heart of these movements for social change, and I would like to better understand why and how staff and volunteers see their roles in creating change.

Interested Areas:

  • Nonprofit Sector
  • Civic Engagement
  • Philanthropy
  • Public Policy
  • Public Administration

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • POLS 3026: Civic Engagement and Social Change
  • POLS 3027: Student Lab for Social Change

james ruff

James Ruff, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
Contact: j.ruff@utah.edu
Research Summary: My research applies the theories and experiential tools of evolutionary biology to questions concerning the health effects of sugar consumption and other dietary treatments.


Interested Areas:

  • Evolution
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Sustainability

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • BIOL 5960-030 Urban Ecology

placeholderHelene Shugart, Ph.D.

Department: Communication
Contact: hshugart@utah.edu
Research Summary: Cultural significance of food; mediated representations of food; public discourses of food; including how all of the above related to obesity.


Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Culture

placeholderMasha Sukovic, Ph.D.

Department: Communication
Contact: masha.sukovic@utah.edu
Research Summary: My research examines some of the important connections between health, gender, culture, communication, food, environment, and technology. I am fascinated by the powerful but often subtle ways in which food shapes our lives socially, culturally, economically, politically, mentally, nutritionally, and in a number of other ways. I believe that food and eating—from what we consume, how we acquire it, who prepares it, to who's at the table—is a form of communication rich with meaning. Additionally, my research interests revolve around the role that technology plays in improving the health of individuals, especially women and members of underprivileged populations. I am currently working on several research projects the goal of which is to effect positive, community-driven change in underrepresented communities by closely collaborating with individuals in these communities in order to identify, protect, and enhance their important cultural traditions, including but not limited to traditional foods and approaches to food procurement, preparation, and consumption, thus helping preserve their vital relationships to each other and the environment.

Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Cultural Sustainability
  • Food Culture
  • Food Justice & Access
  • Food and Gender
  • Culinary Medicine

aster tecleAster Tecle

Department: Social Work
Contact: aster.tecle@socwk.utah.edu
Research Summary: I'm an engaged scholar working with refugee and immigrant communities exploring how they make sense of cultural displacements, "home" and belonging.  I teach Reflexive Social Justice; Social Justice, Human Rights and Social Work Practice; and Community Practice and Advocacy.


Interest Areas:

  • Global food (in)security
  • Food justice

polly wiessnerPolly Wiessner

Department: Anthropology
Contact: wiessner@soft-link.com
Research summary: My research looks at non-nutritional goals in food use: bonding, romantic love, status seeking, identity, ethnicity, religion and food for peace-making. My areas of current focus are the Ju/'hoansi Bushmen of the Kakahari in southern Africa and the Enga of Highland Papua New Guinea. I also run a small non-profit for food security in southern Africa.

Interest Areas:

  • International food security
  • Food as the social glue of society
  • Food production to fight nutritionally related diseases

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • The Anthropology of Food ANTH 4130/6130

jean zancanellaJean Zancanella, MS

Department: Nutrition
Contact: jean.zancanella@health.utah.edu
Research Summary: Food, nutrition and health and food policy.



Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Sustainability

Food Related Courses I Teach:

  • NUTR 6360 - Medical Nutrition Therapy I & II

Please contact me about food-related student projects and opportunities. I am involved with the University's Social Soup. I also work with graduate students that are placed in the community in a wide variety of settings. Students have worked with community gardens, farmers market, and nutrition education in diverse settings.


cathleen zickCathleen Zick, Ph.D.

Department: Family and Consumer Studies
Contact: cathy.zick@fcs.utah.edu
Research Summary: I am interested in the relationship between foods purchased, time spent in meal preparation, and obesity risk. More specifically, I am interested in examining how Americans' food purchasing behaviors and food-related time use choices have changed over the past 50+ years, and in turn, how these shifts have contributed to obesity risk.


Interest Areas:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Food policy
  • Economics of food