Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition


Katherine's research program is aimed at creating safe, healthy and just community school environments that promote and encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and community food security. Current projects she's working on include: health and social benefits of urban agriculture and community gardens, policies and environments to promote nutrition and physical activity among elementary and middle school students. She has been trained in methodologies from various fields, including epidemiology, anthropology, sociology, and is able to draw upon these diverse methods to find answers to research questions.

There are two organizing principles of her work. The first is community-based participatory research (CBPR).  The second organizing principle is that people are more likely to be healthy and practice healthy behaviors within supportive environments. In essence, all of the work she does is toward making it easier for people of ages, incomes, race-ethnicities, genders, and class to be healthy.

Degree: Ph.D., Cornell University, 2000 M.S., Cornell University, 1997

Professional Positions:

2002-2003 - Assistant Research Scientist, Dept. of  Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI

2002-2003 - Associate Evaluation Director, Prevention Research Center of Michigan, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI

2000-2002 - Community Health Scholar, W. K. Kellogg Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI

1991-1999 - Nutritionist, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, Hyattsville, MD

Research Interests:

Community food security; urban agriculture; policy and environmental supports for promoting healthy eating and physical activity; school nutrition; and community-based participatory research.

Instructional Activities:

HNF 150 – Introduction to Human Nutrition

HNF 824 – Nutrition Policies & Programs

Outreach Focus:

Community Nutrition

Recent Publications:

Lucarelli JF, Alaimo K, et al.  Facilitators to promoting health in schools – is school health climate the key?  Journal of School Health. In press, 2013.

Eisenmann JC, Alaimo K, Pfeiffer K, et al.  Project FIT: Rationale, design and baseline characteristics of a school- and community-based intervention to address physical activity and healthy eating among low-income elementary school children. BMC Public Health 2011:11(1):607.

Alaimo K, Reischl T, Allen JO.  Community gardening, neighborhood meetings and social capital. Journal of Community Psychology 2010;38(4): 497-514.

Izumi B, Alaimo K, Hamm M.  Farm to School Programs: Perspectives of School Food Service Professionals.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2010; 42(2):83-91.

Allen JO, Alaimo K, Elam D, Perry E.  Growing Vegetables and Values: Benefits of Neighborhood-Based Community Gardens for Youth Development and Nutrition.  Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, 2008;3(4):418-439. 

Alaimo, K. “Child hunger in the U.S.: An overview”.  In: Child Poverty in America Today: 2. Health and Medical Care.  Praeger/GreenwoodPublishing Group. 2007.

Alaimo K, Bassett E, Wilkerson R, Smiley M, Warbach J, Hines A, Guzmán L, Krup C, Mosack J*, and Petersmarck K. Design Guidelines For Active Michigan Communities: Imagining, Creating, and Improving Communities for Physical Activity, Active Living, and Recreation. Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Community Health. 98 pages. May 2006. 

Alaimo K and Hassler D, eds.  From Seeds to Stories:  The Community Garden Storytelling Project of Flint.  Flint Urban Gardening and Land Use Corporation and Prevention Research Center of Michigan.  83 pages. April 2003.

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