Departmental Links

Welcome to the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition

Chaired by professor Rick Welsh, we offer the following academic programs:

Child and Family Health in the Global Community, M.S.
Nutrition, B.S.
Nutrition Science, B.S., M.A., M.S.
Public Health, B.S.
Food Studies, B.S.
Addiction Studies (C.A.S.)
Global Health (C.A.S.)
Dietetic Internship (C.A.S.)

You can also view more specific details on our programs by visiting our web pages on public health, nutrition science and dietetics and food studies.


Sudha Raj Portrait

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics honors nutrition professor Sudha Raj for leadership in service, excellence in practice

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, will honor Falk College associate professor of nutrition, Sudha Raj, Ph.D., RDN, FAND, with two awards at the 2014 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) to be held in Atlanta October 18-21. Dr. Raj will receive the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) Leadership in Service Award and the Excellence in Practice Award from the Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine DPG.

Falk Nutrition students consider Fresh Apples vs. Apple Fritters at the Great New York State Fair

The Great New York State Fair has come and gone and we hope everyone who attended the Fair had a blast. Our Falk Nutrition students had fun. They asked questions, tasted Tzatziki sauce, crunched fresh apples and proved anyone can eat healthy at the Great New York State Fair.

Armed with appetites and an agenda, Falk nutrition students Rachel Johnson ‘15 and Mary Briggman ‘15 set out to dispel the myth that it’s impossible to eat healthy at the Fair. Did the students pass up the Fried Chicken Fingers, Heart-Attack Burgers, and Apple Fritters for Fruits and Veggies? You just might be surprised.

Luvenia Cowart Photo and Susan Komen Logo

Falk College Faculty Awarded Komen Foundation Grant for Breast Cancer Awareness, Education Programming

Public Health professor of practice, Luvenia Cowart, working with Maria Brown, assistant research professor, School of Social Work, has received a $47,293 grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure New York Foundation to support the project, “Breast Cancer Awareness and Education Program for African American Women in Underserved Communities.” The project’s aim is to reduce disparities in breast cancer and its associated health risks, and to promote participation in mammography and early detection services for African American women in the Syracuse community.

Lutchmie Narine Photo

Study Identifies Key Components for Prevention, Intervention Programs for Adolescent Smoking in China

Falk College professors, Ambika Krishnakumar (Child and Family Studies) and Lutchmie Narine (Public Health) authored “Parenting practices and adolescent smoking in mainland China: The mediating effect of smoking-related cognitions,” which appeared in the August 2014 edition of the Journal of Adolescence. In collaboration with Dr. Yan Wang, Drs. Krishnakumar and Narine examined the direct and indirect associations of general and smoking-specific parenting practices with Chinese adolescents' smoking behaviors. Results suggest that parenting practices and smoking-related cognitions are critical components to be incorporated in prevention and intervention programs for adolescent smoking in China.

NSD Faculty Fellows

Nutrition alumna Skylar Griggs ’08 addresses healthy school lunches on FOX News Boston

Providing healthy food options that children not only want to eat but will eat was one of many important messages Falk College alumna, Skylar Griggs, MS, RD, LDN, offered during a recent interview with WFXT-25/FOX News in Boston. Griggs, who graduated from the Falk College’s Nutrition/DPD programs in 2008, is a clinical nutrition specialist at Children’s Hospital in Boston. From providing more fruits and vegetables and 100 percent whole grain options to limiting sodium, Griggs shared her expertise on healthier nutrition requirements for school lunches.

NSD Faculty Fellows

Nutrition major Sam Rodgers ‘15 continues focus on community service, nominated for Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

Senior student-athlete Sam Rodgers has made community service a top priority in his time with the Orange men’s football team and he has been nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his efforts. Rodgers, who was also nominated in 2013, has been active in numerous community service organizations, most recently making his second mission trip to Haiti and working to establish a chapter of Uplifting Athletes at Syracuse. He’s traveled to Haiti in May in each of the last two years with Poverty Resolutions. Rodgers made the trip with his family and Syracuse student-athletes and assisted on a number of projects while there while partnering with the Mission of Grace Orphanage in the country. Earlier this year Sam, who is majoring in nutrition, was named a 2014-15 Remembrance Scholar. He will serve as one of two undergraduate Falk College Marshals for Convocation/Commencement 2015 next May.

NSD Faculty Fellows

Nutrition faculty Named Fellows of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

In recognition of professional contributions, Falk College nutrition faculty members Drs. Kay Stearns Bruening, Sudha Raj and Sarah Short, along with long-standing, part-time instructor, Donna Acox, were named Fellows of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. The Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics recognizes Academy members who have distinguished themselves among their colleagues, as well as in their communities, by their service to the dietetics profession and by optimizing the nation's health through food and nutrition. Fellows demonstrate the Academy's core values of customer focus, integrity, innovation, and social responsibility. Fellows provide outreach to their communities and grow public trust for Academy members.

Rick Welsh Portrait

Falk Professor to Study Anaerobic Digesters for Small-scale Dairy Farms

Falk College professor of Food Studies, Rick Welsh, and Stefan Grimberg and Shane Rogers, two environmental engineers from Clarkson University, have received a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute for Food and Agriculture to develop educational and outreach materials related to smaller-scale anaerobic digesters.

In the U.S., anaerobic digesters have been seen as larger farm technologies since the more manure produced on a farm, the greater the amount of biogas produced too. This biogas is captured and burned to produce heat that can be used to keep parlors warm or to produce steam to turn a turbine and produce electricity. Excess electricity can be sold.

Working toward wetland restoration

Working Toward Wetland Restoration

In the St. Lawrence River watershed in northern New York, two creatures struggle to hang on in the complex ecosystem of restored wetlands. The Blanding’s turtle and the golden-winged warbler can thrive in the shallow pools of water and adjacent dense shrubby vegetation typical of the swampy marshes.

The recovery of these two specific species is an important indicator for an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including two from Syracuse University, assessing the viability of public-private partnerships to restore wetlands. Their work is providing answers to ensure conservation efforts that benefit both human and animal in this region—and possibly beyond. The work assesses the results of two government programs in which private landowners, including farmers, voluntarily agree to conservation easements to allow wetland restoration.

“We know it’s successful because there’s a lot of enrollment and a lot less controversy than wetland regulation, which creates pushback and resentment in rural and agricultural communities and hadn’t worked very well,” says Richard Welsh, a sociologist and professor of food studies in Falk College, who is a co-investigator. “But we don’t know if the outcomes regarding these kinds of natural capital—biodiversity, water quality—and social and economic impacts have been successful. That’s what we’re trying to find out.”

Pacific Islands and Fusion Cuisines Class Luau Workshop

Pacific Islands & Fusion Cuisines Class Luau Workshop

Chef instructor Chris Uyehara’s HPM 300 – Pacific Islands & Fusion Cuisines class held a recent workshop where students prepared food from the various geographic locations they studied during the semester. The last workshop included a luau. The class focuses on the exploration of the foods, eating practices, and customs, both today and historically, associated with foods of the different cultures and/or ethnic groups that have become, or are becoming, integral parts of the Pacific Islands and the Hawaiian culture, and how today’s foods are a reflection of these many sources. Through the spring 2014 semester, students explored cultures throughout the Pacific Islands, from the US to South America, Australia and East Asia. Focus of learning was the origins and migration of different foods among varied cultural and geographical areas, as well appreciation of the role that food has played in the life of multiple cultural groups over time. The economic impact of food production and consumption and the impact of such agricultural economics on the preparation and usage of foods, historically and today, was also explored.

Photos by: Prof. Alejandro Garcia

Front cover of Healthy You Spring 2014

Healthy You Spring 2014 Magazine

Falk students, faculty advocate for women's human rights to adequate food, nutrition at United Nations meetings

Students in the Falk College’s new graduate course, FST 700—Gender, Food, and Rights attended the United Nations’ (UN) annual Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) meetings over Spring Break. Led by food studies professor, Anne Bellows, three students, Melanie Shaffer-Cutillo, Karen Cordano, and Stacia Martelli canvassed official meetings on issues related to women’s human right to adequate food and nutrition as official delegates of the non-governmental organization, Food First Information Action Network (FIAN) International. Bellows is an editorial board member and contributor to the FIAN worldwide publication, “The Right to Food and Nutrition Watch.”

The Gender, Food and Rights course the students are enrolled in advances inquiry introduced in another Falk food studies course, FST 403/603—Right to Food and Nutrition and foregrounds a focus on the relationship between the human right to adequate food and nutrition and women’s rights. The class operates from an investigation into the question, when so many call for the inclusion of women into food and nutrition programs and policy making, why do women and girls continue to experience hunger and malnutrition at greater rates than do men across diverse demographic groups experiencing right to food violations?

2014 HPM Gala Students

Hospitality Students Host 11th Annual Senior Class Gala

On Saturday, April 5, students in the Falk College’s hospitality management program hosted family, friends, faculty, administrators and members of the hospitality industry for the 11th Annual Senior Class Gala. The event, which was themed “The Great Gatsby,” was held at the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center. The students work with faculty and staff to develop a budget, create invitations, plan the menu and fully execute a unique culinary experience for the event’s guests.

The students organizing the event held a silent auction, in conjunction with the gala. They secured donations for the silent auction, which benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York. Proceeds to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation are being tallied at this time and will be reported when they are available. In the past five years, the Gala has brought in $14,783 for various charities. This year’s total will make the historical total close to $20,000.

Photos by: Prof. Alejandro Garcia

Tanya Horacek

Falk College Nutrition Professor, Tanya Horacek, Part of Team Awarded $4.9 Million USDA Grant for Childhood Obesity Prevention

Falk College associate professor of nutrition, Tanya Horacek, R.D., Ph.D., and Syracuse University are part of a 14-university team that has received a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to empower college students to create obesity prevention programs for their peers as well as students in elementary and high schools. The campaign, which will launch in August, is entitled, "Get Fruved." It will harness the peer-to-peer interactions of more than 1,000 students who will work together to create interventions so students become more physically active. “Fruved" is a term that refers to fruits and vegetables. The behaviors students will address include healthy eating and physical activity as well as managing stress, emotional well-being, and the importance of positive social support systems. The students will also be advocates for environmental change on their campuses to support positive health behaviors. This project purposefully uses a non-diet approach to weight management and instead focuses on promoting healthy behavior and positive healthy body images.

Food Science, Wheat Inspected

Falk College Announces New Bachelor of Science in Food Studies; Now Enrolling Majors for Fall 2014

The Falk College today announced a new bachelor of science degree in Food Studies. The new program, which is now enrolling majors for Fall 2014, provides a thorough understanding of food systems, politics and economies from production to consumption locally, nationally and globally. Students develop marketable skills, such as data management and analysis, food preparation and presentation, and the ability and knowledge to link these skills to the growing interest in food systems. The opportunity to pair the food studies major with minors within the Falk College and throughout Syracuse University, such as public health, nutrition, social sciences, policy studies or communications, offers students unique and marketable complements to their degree programs.

Brian Wansink and his book Mindless Eating

NEPA hosts Brian Wansink Feb. 26

The Nutrition Education Promotion Association (NEPA) hosted Brian Wansink, Ph.D., on the topic of mindless eating in February 2014. The community was invited to attend the lecture. Dr. Wansink is the John Dyson Endowed Chair in the Applied Economics and Management Department at Cornell University, directing the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He has been the Executive Director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which is the federal agency charged in creating the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. He has authored numerous research articles and books, including Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. As a consumer psychologist, Dr. Wansink studies food psychology and eating behaviors. His work focuses on understanding how the environment influences our decisions to eat food. His research guides individuals to understand how they can change eating behaviors, and why these changes are so successful."

NEPA is a student organization in the Falk College’s Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition that promotes health and nutrition education to the SU and the Syracuse communities.

Photo of Tanya Horacek, Lauren Carey,  Allison Marco and Kay Stearns Bruening

Nutrition Alums Help Students Build Professional Social Media Presence

The importance of a professional presence in social media for dietitians and other nutrition professionals was the focus of a recent interactive presentation by Falk College nutrition alumni and registered dietitians, Lauren Carey, RD, CLT, and Allison Marco, MS, RD, LDN. “Using Technology and Social Media to Leverage Your Career in Dietetics,” explored the growing use of social media in dietetics practice and why it is one of the most important elements in the professional toolkit of today’s dietitians. Lauren is a registered dietitian at a private practice in East Brunswick, NJ and is the co-founder of Baritrack, an app that offers support and tools for patients who have undergone bariatric surgery. She is a Certified LEAP Specialist for Food Sensitivity Testing for IBS, Migraines, and Fibromyalgia, with additional certification in Adult Weight Management. As the food services registered dietitian at Georgetown University, Allison manages electronic nutrition tools for dining services including its online menus, Facebook presence, nutrition blog and menu app. She provides nutrition counseling for students, faculty and staff at Georgetown University and employee training and wellness programs.

Falk College Nutrition Students with Syracuse Crunch

Falk Students, Syracuse Crunch Team Up on Performance Nutrition

Falk College nutrition student Melissa Mathews confers with a member of the Syracuse Crunch hockey team at Wegmans this past Monday. A group of undergraduate and graduate students interested in sport nutrition worked with nutrition instructor and registered dietitian Jane Burrell Uzcategui to deliver a cooking demo and Q&A session to the Crunch players on Nov. 4 and a tour at Wegmans on Nov. 11. Their goal was to teach them techniques for increasing their lean protein and fruit and vegetable intake to enhance muscle recovery. “The students did a fantastic job and have really enjoyed the projects,” notes Burrell Uzcategui.

New Food Studies Minor

The Falk College’s Food Studies minor is an interdisciplinary approach to examining U.S. and global food systems from production through consumption using a multi-level and holistic approach. Students take courses covering production, consumption, distribution, gastronomy, and food policy. The minor in Food Studies requires completion of six courses, two that are mandatory and four electives. Sign up for these Spring 2014 courses today. For more specific information on declaring the minor, contact Evan Weissman, Ph.D. Food Studies minor coordinator, 443-4295 or e-mail

Public health study seeks participants who have family member, friend with intellectual disability

There are 4.3 million adult Americans with intellectual disabilities who experience substantial health disparities. Consequently, they are at increased risk for preventable mortality, infections, asthma, cardiovascular disease, violence victimization, and mental health problems. A new research study conducted through the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition is currently seeking participants who have a family member or friend with an intellectual disability. Group interviews will be at Syracuse University and will last approximately two hours. Individuals will receive $40 and transportation costs for their participation. For more information, and to sign up to participate, call (315) 443–5981 or e-mail

dual nutition major Sam Rodgers in Haiti

Falk College Participates in Global Efforts to Educate, Engage Grassroots Efforts to Alleviate Hunger

SU’s Falk College is a worldwide launch site for the 2013 edition of the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch, an international publication in English, Spanish and French, that explores global issues surrounding the right to food and nutrition. Unveiled Oct. 8 across the world, the Watch provides grassroots organizations confronted by violations to the right to adequate food and nutrition examples of how civil society groups have taken action at the local, regional, and international levels. “This year’s Watch launch marks an ongoing, six-year effort to bring the human rights framework alive by providing a platform for public interest civil society voices--as rights holders to hold national states--as duty bearers accountable to realize progressively the right to adequate food and nutrition,” says Anne C. Bellows, Ph.D., Watch editorial board member, contributor, and professor of food studies in the Falk College at Syracuse University.

Brooks Gump named Falk Family Endowed Professor of Public Health

Brooks B. Gump, Ph.D., M.P.H., has been named the Falk Family Endowed Professor of Public Health. Dr. Gump joined the Falk College faculty in 2010 and is currently a professor in the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, where he also serves as the graduate program director for public health.

Falk College Professor Rick Welsh receives 2013 Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award

The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) honored Rick Welsh, Ph.D., professor of food studies in the Falk College’s Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, for exceptional contributions to the field of rural sociology with the 2013 Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award. This distinguished honor recognizes excellence in scholarly work in the same spirit exemplified by the late Fred Buttel, a prominent scholar of the sociology of agriculture and environmental sociology. In addition to 2013 Buttel Scholarly Achievement Award, Welsh recently received a grant from the University of Michigan’s Water Center for the project, “Wetlands for Wildlife: Understanding Drivers of Public-Private Partnership Restoration Success.” This project is one of six projects led by multidisciplinary teams that received funding from the Water Center to support and enhance restoration and protection efforts of the Great Lakes basin.

Syracuse Lead Study

Gump leads NIH study aimed to improve children’s cardiovascular health; currently seeking participants for Syracuse Lead Study

Brooks B. Gump, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor, Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to investigate the relationship between race, socioeconomic status, blood lead levels, cardiovascular responses to acute stress and cardiovascular disease risk.

Participants are now being sought for the Syracuse Lead Study, which will examine environmental toxins that collect in the human body, such as lead, to understand their impact on stress response and cardiovascular health. The Syracuse Lead Study is a four-year project focused on children ages 9, 10 or 11, who live in the 13203, 13204, 13205, 13207 or 13208 zip code areas and identify their race as black or white. Participants and their parents/guardians will be compensated for their time with a stipend of up to $120. The study consists of two appointments at Syracuse University. The first appointment involves a venous blood draw to measure lead levels and questionnaires regarding stressors and support systems. The second appointment requires two echocardiograms and the completion of several computer games in a laboratory setting. Time commitment is approximately five-hours on campus.

To learn more about the study and To participate in it, please call (315) 443-4907 or email

Kimberly Johnson Portrait

Kimberly Johnson authors chapter exploring trans fat social policy, environmental externalities

Senior part-time instructor, Kimberly Johnson, has authored a chapter in the publication, Environmental Policy is Social Policy-Social Policy is Environmental Policy: Toward Sustainability Policy. The chapter is entitled, “Living Off the Fat of Another Land: Trans Fat Social Policy andEnvironmental Externalities,” and explores efforts in replacing trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the food supply while looking more broadly at the intersection of food, health, and environmental policy.

Karen Kirkhart, Ph.D.

Bellows’ UN presentation explores gender, nutrition and adequate food

The barriers to women’s access to adequate food and nutrition were the focus of a presentation by Anne C. Bellows, Ph.D., Falk College professor of food studies, at the United Nation’s forum series: The Future of Global Food Policy this spring. Bellows’ presentation entitled, “Eating, Feeding, Being Fed: Gender, Nutrition and the Human Right to Adequate Food,” explored why the food and nutrition status of women and girls is not improving despite a global call for the inclusion of women and an international gender perspective.

Course spotlight: FST 300--Farm to Fork

In the Farm to Fork course, students explore key features of the food system, from farm to fork. Using both in-class learning and hands-on engagement students will interrogate industrial food and develop a better understanding and appreciation of efforts to build community-based food systems. The class includes a cooking laboratory where students learn basic culinary skills. Students also participate in a variety of field trips.

Kiernan receives ACF presidential medallion

Hospitality and food studies instructor, Mary Ann Kiernan, was honored with the Presidential Medallion from the National American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF President Michael Ty recognized her dedication to the Syracuse ACF chapter and the success of the northeast regional conference, which was held recently at the Turning Stone Casino with over 700 professional chefs in attendance. In 1991, Jack Braun, then national ACF president, introduced the ACF President’s Medallions as tokens of appreciation, and to honor those who exemplify culinary excellence and leadership, and have contributed their knowledge, skills and expertise to the advancement of the culinary profession. Pictured L-R: Michael Ty, Mary Kiernan, and Bill Tillinghast, ACF Northeast region vice president.

Public Health Faculty Study Gang Activity As Behavioral Addiction

The appeal of street life and gang activity for some individuals may be an addiction, which is the focus of soon-to-be-published research resulting from a Falk College-Syracuse community collaboration. Sandra D. Lane, professor, public health and anthropology, and Dessa Bergen-Cico, assistant professor, public health, along with community members Arnett Haygood-El and Timothy Jennings-Bey who work for the Southwest Community Center and United Way, respectively, created a research studyAddiction Research & Theory to better understand gang involvement by speaking with men who have histories of gang affiliation and street crime. While behavioral addictions, such as substance abuse and gambling, are well documented in research, studies on gang violence behaviors through the framework of addictions are limited. "Street Addiction: A Proposed Theoretical Model for Understanding the Draw of Street Life and Gang Activity," will be published in the Journal of Addiction Research and Theory in March. The  video clip above gives an overview of how the research was developed, along with highlights of findings.

Welcome to the Department of Public Health, Food Studies & Nutrition

Rick Welsh serves as the department chair of Public Health, Food Studies & Nutrition

A message from the chair

Department News

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College Events

CNY NOPE Candlelight Vigil

A vigil in remembrance of all families and communities affected by the disease of addiction

Date: Thursday, October 23
Time: 6:00-7:00pm
Location: Canyons area in Destiny USA

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Research Brown Bag Forum

Social Networks & Successful Aging within a Thai Context

Speakers: Lutchmie Narine, Ambika Krishnakumar
Date: Friday, October 24
Time: 9:30-11:00am
Location: Sims Hall Atrium

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Clean Slate Diaries: Survivor Sessions

A panel presentation of courageous survivors of sexual abuse & domestic violence

Date: Friday, October 24
Time: 12:00-2:00pm
Location: 111 Peck Hall

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Olympic Roundtable

A presentation and conversational roundtable on the Olympic Movement

Date: Friday, October 31
Time: 11:30am-1:00pm
Location: Kittredge Auditorium, Huntington Beard Crouse hall

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Family Weekend 2014

Dates: October 31-Nov. 2

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Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) Information Session

DLE is a skills-centric program preparing undergraduates at SU to be globally competitive, career-ready professionals

Date: Friday, November 7
Time: 12:30-1:30pm
Location: 202 Hall of Languages

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Veterans, Families & Friends

You are invited to a community forum on serving & supporting returning Veterans

Date: November 10
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Location: 111 Peck Hall

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Graduate Program Information Session

Date: November 15

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