Healthy Food Systems

The Healthy Food Systems projects aim to improve health and prevent obesity and disease in low-income communities through culturally appropriate educational, environmental and policy interventions that increase access to healthy foods and promote their purchase, preparation and consumption.

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Current Projects

Baltimore Urban Food Distribution (BUD)


Baltimore Urban Food Distribution (BUD)

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Support Application for Food Pantries (SAFPAS)

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Focus on Restaurants Engagement to Strengthen Health (FRESH)

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About Us

Healthy Food Systems has worked with many states and communities through studies which are a series of food store-based interventions in low-income areas where healthy foods are often unavailable. The Healthy Stores work strives to curb diet-related chronic diseases in ethnic-minority populations by increasing access to more nutritious foods, promoting them at the point of purchase, and educating store employees and customers alike about the benefits of healthier diets. We combine interventions at the retail food level with work in schools, churches, recreation centers and restaurants.​

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Meet the Team

JOEL GITTELSOHNDirector of Community Interventions
Dr. Gittelsohn is a Professor in the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and serves as Principal Investigator on a number of NIH-funded food environment interventions in Baltimore and Native American communities.

View his JHSPH page here.

LISA POIRIERResearch Associate
Lisa oversees data collection, management, and analysis for all healthy stores projects. Her research interests lie in urban food environments, food system sustainability, and the use of urban farms to alleviate food deserts.
Emma C. Lewis, MS
Emma C. Lewis, MSDoctoral Candidate
Emma is a Doctoral Candidate and T32 Predoctoral Fellow in Human Nutrition. She serves as Project Coordinator for the Baltimore Urban food Distribution (BUD) project, and most of her work focuses on improving healthy food access and intervening in the food environment using community-based approaches and digital health strategies.
Samantha Sundermeir, MS, RDN
Samantha Sundermeir, MS, RDNDoctoral Candidate
Samantha is a Doctoral Candidate and T32 Predoctoral Fellow in Human Nutrition. She serves as Project Coordinator for the Dollar Store and SAFPAS project, and her work focuses on improving food security and healthy food access through food environment interventions and policy changes.
Veronica Velez-Burgess, MSc, MA, INHC
Veronica Velez-Burgess, MSc, MA, INHCResearch Program Coordinator
Veronica is a community health specialist with a background in social anthropology and is a trained chef. Her primary focus is on nutrition education and health promotion programs for vulnerable populations.
Michelle Doan
Michelle DoanResearch Program Coordinator