Angela Odoms-Young
Angela Odoms-Young
The Nancy Schlegel Meining Associate Professor of Maternal and Child Nutrition
Division of Nutritional Sciences


Angela Odoms-Young, PhD (she/her/hers) is The Nancy Schlegel Meinig Associate Professor of Maternal and Child Nutrition, Director of the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities Program (FNEC) and New York State Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). In 2021 she joined the Cornell faculty after spending 13 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition.

Dr. Odoms-Young’s research explores the social and structural determinants of dietary behaviors and related health outcomes in low-income populations and black, Indigenous, and people of color. Her work also centers on developing culturally responsive programs and policies that promote health equity, food justice, and community resilience.

She has served on various advisory committees and boards, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Food and Nutrition Board and committees to develop the nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program and to revise the food packages provided in the Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).  Dr. Odoms-Young has received several awards for her contributions and commitment to research and education, including the Mary C. Egan Award and the Excellence in Dietary Guidance Award from the American Public Health Association-Food and Nutrition Section. She has also been honored with the Excalibur Award for Teaching Excellence within the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Research interests

Informed by training in nutritional sciences, family processes, and community-based participatory research, my work is focused on addressing two overlapping questions: 1) What is the role of social, structural, and cultural factors in shaping dietary behaviors and diet-related health outcomes over the life course and 2) What programmatic and policy interventions are effective at promoting resilience and reducing the chronic disease burden in populations that are disproportionately at risk for ill health. Nutrition and dietary behaviors have long been at the center of efforts to reduce chronic disease and improve overall population health. However, over the last decade there has been an emerging discourse that highlights the complex determinants of dietary behavior and the need for using a multilevel and/or systems approach to address these factors.  

In my research, I have attempted to meaningfully contribute to this discourse by examining the diverse factors that influence food choice behaviors in low-income populations and communities of color and inform the development of community-based intervention approaches. This work has focused on expanding theoretical paradigms, identifying and evaluating policy, systems, and environmental change interventions, and developing effective training approaches for nutrition professionals to deliver culturally appropriate, community centered nutrition education services.

Throughout my career, I have viewed my research, teaching, and service as complementary, where one area enhances and/or provides support for the other. Consistent across each, are the themes of community engagement/capacity building, equity, action, power, and social justice. Overall, my approach to research is guided by the principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR),a partnership approach to research that equitably involves community members, practitioners, and academic researchers in all aspects of the process, enabling all partners to contribute their expertise and share responsibility and ownership (Israel et al., 2010) and team science, a collaborative effort to address a scientific challenge that leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields (Bennettand Gadlin, 2012; National Research Council, 2015). As a BIPOC nutrition researcher with specific expertise in equity, qualitative research approaches, and CBPR, I often bring this expertise to interdisciplinary research teams.

  • Building the evidence base and engaging the voice of lived experience to help promote food justice in communities of color (Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). The significant death toll, economic shocks, and food value chain disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic over the last several years underscores the interconnectedness between diet and nutrition, chronic and infectious disease, economic development, and environmental sustainability and highlights the importance of strengthening the food system for ensuring optimal human and planetary health.  In the context of broader food system vulnerabilities, COVID-19 also amplified the multiple ways in which systemic factors, specifically racism and poverty persisting for centuries, magnify the disproportionate social and economic burden experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) during acute and long-standing food system shocks and crises (James et al., 2021). For example, while the overall prevalence of food insecurity in the United States (US) remained stable from 2019 to 2020, food insecurity rates for Black and Hispanic households increased, exacerbating existing racial gaps. Until recently, research examining approaches to achieving a fair, just, and equitable food system has been absent from the chronic disease discourse. This research and public engagement project is focused on advancing the empirical foundation and centering the lived experience narrative to inform a research, policy, and communal mobilization strategy related to food justice/sovereignty, food systems equity, and food/nutrition security in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. The project will build/expand the evidence base and engage/uplift the voice of the lived experience to help inform the development of policy and community action to promote food justice and equitable ownership, leadership, and benefits for BIPOC communities. Specific project aims are to: (1) elucidate the multiple pathways linking anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and other forms of structural oppression in the food system (and related systems) to inequities in food/nutrition security and to diet-related chronic-disease outcomes; (2) understand the mechanisms linking food justice/sovereignty (and broader equity efforts), community/family resilience, and positive mental and physical health outcomes in BIPOC populations; and (3) inform the development of a community-driven, trauma-informed, BIPOC-centered, policy-relevant research agenda to promote food justice/sovereignty and address inequities in food and nutrition security and diet-related chronic-disease outcomes. Methods include a scoping review, Delphi Study, participatory group model building with a multidisciplinary cohort of BIPOC food-system researchers, community advocates, and practitioners, and simulation models. Project deliverables include a comprehensive synthesis of the existing literature and a system-dynamics model identifying barriers to and levers and opportunities for system change/transformation that can inform future research investments and intervention targets.
  • Feeding America National Office: Equity Visiting Scholar Program and Food Security and Equity Research Grant. I currently serve as the inaugural Visiting Equity Research Scholar at Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, food pantries, and local meal programs focused on helping “people get the food and resources they need to thrive.” As part of this role, she is helping to advance the science related to understanding and addressing racial/ethnic and other disparities in food and nutrition security and how the charitable food system can help close these gaps.  In collaboration with her students and research fellows, she is working on a project to develop process and outcome measures and metrics for promoting equity within the charitable food system's core functions. Results will be used to develop an equity self-assessment tool (CFS-SSA) that food banks and member agencies can use to advance racial equity. The CFS-SSA will be piloted with a cohort of food banks and member agencies. It will inform the development of a technical assistance toolbox to support CFS stakeholders in their journey as they make their policies and practices more equitable. Lastly, this project will examine relationships between CFS-SSA scoring and psychometrics, neighbor experience, community engagement, and inequities in food security.



Bodnar, L. M., Odoms-Young, A., Kirkpatrick, S. I., Naimi, A. I., Petersen, J. M., & Martin, C. L. (2023). Experiences of Racial Discrimination and Periconceptional Diet Quality. The Journal of Nutrition, 153(8), 2369–2379. 

Watson, K. S., & Odoms-Young, A. (2023). A Critical Need to Examine the Lack of Access to Healthy Quality Foods and Its Association With Cancer Mortality-A Clarion Call for Multilevel Research and Interventions. JAMA oncology, 9(7), 917–918.

Pezley, L., Cares, K., Duffecy, J., Koenig, M. D., Maki, P., Odoms-Young, A., Clark Withington, M. H., Lima Oliveira, M., Loiacono, B., Prough, J., Tussing-Humphreys, L., & Buscemi, J. (2022). Efficacy of Behavioral Interventions to Improve Maternal Mental Health and Breastfeeding Outcomes: A Systematic Review. International breastfeeding journal, 17(1), 67.

Marriott, J. P., Fiechtner, L., Birk, N. W., Taitelbaum, D., Odoms-Young, A., Wilson, N. L., Clay, L. A., & Zack, R. M. (2022). Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Food Pantry Use and Barriers in Massachusetts during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Nutrients,14 (12), 2531.

Wolf, P. G., Byrd, D. A., Cares, K., Dai, H., Odoms-Young, A., Gaskins, H. R., Ridlon, J. M., & Tussing-Humphreys, L. (2022). Bile Acids, Gut Microbes, and the Neighborhood Food Environment-a Potential Driver of Colorectal Cancer Health Disparities. mSystems, 7(1), e0117421.

Rancaño, K. M., Bandini, L. G., Curtin, C., Eliasziw, M., Odoms-Young, A., & Must, A. (2021). Gender and racial/ethnic differences in food selectivity in children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. May 16.

Risica, P. M., Nelson, T., Kumanyika, S. K., Camacho Orona, K., Bove, G., Odoms-Young, A., Gans, K. M. (2021). Emotional eating predicts weight regain among black women in the SisterTalk intervention. Obesity, 29(1): 79-85.

Singleton, C. R., Wichelecki, J., Weber, S. J., Uesugi, K., Bess, S., Reese, L., Odoms-Young, A. (2020). Individual and household-level factors associated with caregivers' intention to keep their child enrolled in WIC. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (20): S1499-4046.

Thompson, T. L., Singleton, C. R., Springfield, S. E., Thorpe, R. J., Odoms-Young, A. (2021). Differences in Nutrient Intake and Diet Quality Between Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic White Men in the United States. Public health reports May/Jun;135(3):334-342.

Kim SJ., Ramirez-Valles J., Watson K., Allen-Mears P., Matthews A., Martinez E., Odoms-Young A, Daviglus M., & Winn RA. (2019). Fostering health equity research: Development and implementation of the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) Chicago. Journal of Clinical and Translational science, 4(1), 53–60.

Weber SJ, Wichelecki J, Chavez N, Bess S, Reese L, Odoms-Young A. (2018) Understanding the factors influencing low-income caregivers' perceived value of a federal nutrition programme, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Public Health Nutr. Dec 7:1-10

Odoms-Young A, Bruce MA. (2018) Examining the Impact of Structural Racism on Food Insecurity: Implications for Addressing Racial/Ethnic Disparities. Fam Community Health. Apr/Jun;41 Suppl 2 Suppl, Food Insecurity and Obesity: S25-S32.

Odoms-Young A, Singleton C, Springfield S, McNabb L, Thompson T. (2016) Retail Environments as a Venue for Obesity Prevention. Current Obesity Reports. Jun; 5(2):184-91.

Springfield, S., Buscemi, J., Fitzgibbon, M.L., Stolley, M.R., Zenk, S.N., Schiffer, L., Sampson, J., Jones, Q., Murdock, T., Davis, I., Holland, L., & Watkins, A., Odoms-Young, A., (2015). A randomized pilot study of a community–based weight loss intervention for African American women: Rationale and study design of Doing Me! Sisters Standing Together for a Healthy Mind and Body. Contemporary Clinical Trials.  Contemp Clin Trials. 2015 Jul;43: 200-8.

Rosing H, Odoms-Young A. (2015). Community-university food projects, race, and health promotion. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community. Apr-Jun;43(2):79-82

Odoms-Young AM, Kong A, Schiffer LA, Porter SJ, Blumstein L, Bess S, Berbaum ML, Fitzgibbon ML. (2013). Evaluating the Initial Impact of the Revised Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages on Dietary Intake and Home Food Availability in African American and Hispanic families. Public Health Nutrition, Apr 2:1-11.

Zenk SN, Schulz AJ, Israel BA, Mentz G, Miranda PY, Opperman A, Odoms-Young AM. (2013). Food shopping behaviours and exposure to discrimination. Public Health Nutrition, Mar 27:1-10.

Odoms-Young A, Zenk S, Mason M. (2009). Measuring Food Availability and Access in African American Communities: Implications for Intervention and Policy. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Apr;36(4 Suppl): S145-50

Selected Book Chapters

Odoms-Young A. Relationships between Structural and Social Adversity and Food Insecurity in Families with Children. In: Families, Food, and Parenting: Integrating Research, Practice and Policy. Francis L, McHale S, King V, Glick J. Eds. Pennsylvania State University. Switzerland AG, Springer International Publishing.

Snetselaar L, Odoms-Young A. (2019) Community-based Research with a Diet Focus.  In: Research: Successful Approaches in Nutrition and Dietetics 4th Edition. Monsen E; Van Horn L (Eds). Chicago, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Zenk S, Thatcher E, Reina M, Odoms-Young A. (2014) Local Food Environments and Diet-Related Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review of Local Food Environments, Body Weight, and Other Diet-Related Health Outcomes. In: Local Food Environments: Food Access in America. Morland K (Ed), Boca Raton: CRC Press. 

1999, Ph.D., Community Nutrition, Cornell University

1994, M.S., Human Nutrition, Cornell University

1990, B.S., Foods and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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