Jamie Dollahite
Professor Emerita
Division of Nutritional Sciences


My expertise is in the area of nutrition education for limited-resource audiences that is designed to prevent obesity and chronic disease. Prior to my retirement, I lead the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program for New York State and provide program leadership in collaboration with the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program--Education.  I was active in national leadership for both programs. My research was closely integrated with the outreach provided by these programs. I directed the Northeast Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Center of Excellence, funded by USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture and the Food and Nutrition Services. The signature research program for this center is to investigate the additive effect of skill-based nutrition education in combination with changes in policy, systems, and environmental changes, designed to make healthy choices easier, on nutrition and physical activity behaviors in low-income populations.

In addition, we developed an innovative staff training model and I have conducted research regarding program management that supports staff  effectiveness.  Several projects have been guided by the socio-ecological model in bringing about changes at various levels of the environment that are conducive to healthy food and activity choices.  We developed and tested a curriculum that targets low-income parents of 3-11 year olds, integrating parenting practices with skills to promote healthy food choice and active play both at home and where children live, learn and play. There is currently a randomized control trial of this program underway.  A  second, related project aimed to build the capacity of local Cooperative Extension staff to collaborate with agency partners to make community-level environmental changes. 

My research falls into two broad categories of projects:  (1) use of the socio-ecological model in research and practice and (2) program effectiveness

In the first category, current projects include

  • a multi-site study that aims to build and test models of behavior change that include wrap-around approaches, whereby direct nutrition education is complemented by incorporating sustained, synergistic organizational and community implementation of policy, systems, and environmental changes  designed to underpin attitude and behavior changes;
  • a study of the development of environmental change efforts in nine counties with very different contexts in terms of coalition work focused on healthy food and activity environments for children; this research seeks to understand what is necessary to build the capacity of local nutrition educators to lead environmental change efforts conducive to healthy food and activity choices that will prevent childhood obesity;
  • a process evaluation of a school-based intervention to change cafeteria environments to facilitate their support of healthy food choices in their children.

In the second category, current projects include

  • a randomized, controlled trial of Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents Making a Difference!, an intervention with low-income parents that teaches parenting practices that support healthy food and activity choices
  • a mobile technology study that is piloting a Facebook page as an enhancement to face-to-face education in EFNEP and SNAP-Ed.


Wolfe WS, Scott-Pierce M, Dollahite JS.  Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness youth curriculum promotes positive behaviors.  J Nutr Educ Behav. In press.

Lin AW, Dollahite JS, Sobal J, Lujan ME. Health-related knowledge, beliefs and self-efficacy in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.   Human Reproduction. 2017.  doi:10.1093/humrep/dex351

Lu A, Dickin KL, Constas MA, Dollahite JS.  The relationship between community nutritionists’ use of policies, systems, and environmental change strategies to prevent obesity and its determinants depends on networking.  Public Health Nutr 2017;20: 2225-2235. DOI 10.1017/S136898001700101X

Rogers C, Anderson SS, Dollahite JS, Hill TF, Holloman C, Miller CK, Pratt KJ, Gunther C. Methods and design of a 10-week multi-component family meals intervention: a two group quasi-experimental effectiveness trial.  BMC Pub Health. 2017;17-50. DOI 10.1186/s12889-016-3908-x.

Stark C, Devine C, Dollahite J. Not my job: characteristics associated with the application of an ecological approach to preventing childhood obesity. Public Health Nutr. 2016;20:174-182.

Thomas LN, Hill TF, Gaines A, Dollahite JS.  Implementing Smarter Lunchroom Makeovers in New York middle schools: an initial process evaluation.  Arch Pub Health 2016;74:41. DOI 10.1186/s13690-016-0153-9 

Dollahite J, Fitch C, Carroll J.  What does evidence-based mean for nutrition educators? Best practices for choosing nutrition education interventions based on the strength of the evidence. J Nutr Educ 2016;10:743-748.

Islam S, Paddock J, Dollahite J.  Navigating for Success:  Quality staff training translates into improved program participant outcomes. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2015:47:188-189. 

Auld, G., Baker, S., Conway, L., Dollahite, J., Lambia, M. C., McGirr, K. Outcome effectiveness of a widely adopted EFNEP curriculum. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2015;47:19-27. 

Lu A, Dickin KL, Dollahite JDevelopment and Application of a Framework to Assess Community Nutritionists' Use of Environmental Strategies to Prevent Obesity. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014;46:475-83.

Dickin KL, Hill TF, Dollahite JS.  Practice-based evidence of effectiveness in an integrated nutrition and parenting education intervention for low-income parents.  J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114:945-50 

Dollahite JS, Pijai EI, Scott-Pierce ML, Parker CM, Trochim WM.  A randomized controlled trial of a community-based nutrition education program for low-income parents.  J Nutr Educ Behav.  2014;46:102-109.

Paddock JD, Dollahite JSNutrition program quality assurance through a formalized process of on-site program review. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012;44:183-188 

Dickin KL, Lent M, Lu A, Sequeira J, Dollahite J. Assessing outcomes in an integrated parenting nutrition education curriculum:  Development and validation of a behavioral checklist.  J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012:44:12-21. 

Lent M, Hill TF, Dollahite JS, Wolfe WS, Dickin KL, Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents Making a Difference! A curriculum integrating key nutrition, physical activity, and parenting practices to help prevent childhood obesity.  J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012:44:90-92. 

Carroll JD, Demment MM, Stiles SF, Devine CM, Dollahite JS, Sobal J, Olson CM.  Overcoming barriers to vegetable consumption by preschool children: A child care center buying club.  J Hunger Environmental Nutr. 2011;6:153–165,

Stark C, Graham-Kiefer M, Devine C, Dollahite J, Olson C. Online course increases nutrition professionals' knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy in using an ecological approach to prevent childhood obesity. J Nutr Educ Behav, 2011;43:316-322.

Dickin KL, Dollahite JS, Habicht JP.  Enhancing the intrinsic work motivation of community nutrition educators:  How supportive supervision and job design foster autonomy. J Ambulatory Care Management 2011;34:260-273.

Webber CB, Sobal J, Dollahite JS.  Shopping for fruits and vegetables: food and retail qualities valued by low-Income households at the grocery store.  Appetite. 2010;54:297-303.

Webber CB, Sobal J, Dollahite JS. Shopping for fruits and vegetables: food and retail qualities valued by low-Income households at the grocery store. Appetite. 2010;54:297-303.

Lu A, Dollahite J. Assessment of dietitians’ nutrition counselling self-efficacy and its positive relationship to reported skill usage. J Human Nutr Dietetics. 2010;23.

Dickin KL, Dollahite JS, Habicht JP. Job satisfaction and retention of community nutrition educators: the importance of perceived value of the program, consultative supervision and work relationships. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2010;42:337-344..

Dollahite J, Kenkel D, Thompson CS. An economic evaluation of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. J Nutr Educ Behav 2008;40:134-143.

Webber CB, Dollahite JS. Attitudes and behaviors of low-income food heads of households towards sustainable food systems concepts. J Hunger Environmental Nutr. 2008;3:186-205.

Webber CB, Sobal J, Dollahite JS. Physical disabilities and food access among limited resource households. Disability Studies Quarterly 2007;27(3) www.dsq-sds.org.

Dickin KL, Dollahite JS, Habicht JP. Behavior change among EFNEP beneficiaries is higher in well-managed sites where front-line nutrition educators value the program. J Nutr. 2005;135:2199-2205.

Dollahite J, Nelson J, Frongillo E, Griffin M. Building Community Capacity Through Enhanced Collaboration in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. J. Agriculture and Human Values. 2005;22:339-354.

Cornell Graduate Field  of Nutrition

Admissions Committee, Cornell Graduate Field of Nutrition

NYS Obesity Prevention in Childcare Partnership

National workgroup developing an online assessment methodology to capture policy, systems, and environmental changes for community-based programs such as the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

I lead  programs conducted through the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities, including the New York State Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program--Education.  These USDA funded programs are aimed at enabling participants and their families to improve food choices and health in the context of limited resources and associated barriers.

Current efforts include (1) ongoing site visits to local sites that inform technical assistance and training needs; (2) development of training for local Cooperative Extension staff that supports their programming and evaluation efforts; (3) development of new curricular resources identified as gaps in our portfolio; (4) a  research/extension integrated project to develop a social media intervention to enhance face-to-face education; and (5) ongoing work with the Collaboration for Health, Activity, and Nutrition in Children's Environments (CHANCE) project, a childhood obesity prevention program that includes both direct parent education and policy, systems, and environmental change efforts.


NS 4020 Supervised Fieldwork in which a small group of students (2-3) is working on development and testing of a social media intervention for low-income parents

NS 4010 Empirical Research in which an undergraduate is replicating and updating previous research on cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of EFNEP.

NS 4250 Public Health Nutrition in which I provided one lecture on Extension Nutrition Programs.

PhD 1990 - University of Texas at Austin, Biological Sciences with a major in Nutrition 
MS   1974 - University of Iowa, Human Nutrition 
RD   1971 - University of Iowa
BS   1970 - University of Texas at Austin, Home Economics with an emphasis in Nutrition

I have provided leadership to the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities (FNEC) group in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. This group is currently made up of seven professional staff and two support staff, as well as 8  part-time student staff.  Administration of the program includes strategic and fiscal planning for $3.4 million per year of Smith Lever Federal Formula Funds for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), as well as other funding that supports extension programs and research.  I supervised the FNEC group that provides leadership to Cornell Cooperative Extension educators in 21 counties who deliver nutrition education programs for low-income audiences.  In addition, I have worked with the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to provide leadership of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-Ed), including 7 regional programs in Cornell Cooperative Extension, 2 programs in the NYS Department of Health, and 4 programs in New York City. The Food and Nutrition Education in Communities campus staff train professional staff; assisted with training of paraprofessional staff; review and develop educational resources; conducted regular site-visits to provide technical assistance and ensured program compliance (EFNEP); provide technical assistance (SNAP-Ed), and conducted program evaluation and research.

I also directed the USDA-funded Northeast Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Center of Excellence (NE-RNECE).  Key initiatives include (1) a signature research program that includes a project conducted by the center at Cornell and four additional projects conducted through sub-awards to the Johns Hopkins University; the Hispanic Health Council of Hartford, Connecticut; the University of Maryland; and the University of Rhode Island; (2) development of a nationwide training program to be delivered through Cornell NutritionWorks to build skills of community nutrition professionals to plan, implemented and evaluated policy, systems, and environmental change activities integrated with direct nutrition education; and (3) a systematic review of the scientific literature to address the question of whether the combination of direct nutrition education with changes to the food and/or physical activity environment has greater effect on obesity-related outcomes than either of the strategies alone.

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