Associate Research Professor
302 Savage Hall
Ithaca, New York
Division of Nutritional Sciences


I conduct translational formative, implementation, and evaluation research to enhance the effectiveness of community-based programs aimed at improving nutritional status and reducing health inequities in the US and globally. My work includes qualitative and quantitative research related to maternal and child nutrition, food security, micronutrient supplementation, responsive feeding, family support for caregiving, environmental influences on food and physical activity, capacity building for multisectoral nutrition, and community engagement.  A central focus of my research is the interface between public health nutrition programs and communities, identifying contextual factors that influence motivation, self-efficacy, and capabilities of providers and participants to enhance utilization and effectiveness of interventions for low-income families. 

Collaborative implementation research and evaluation to build local government capacity to address the myriad causes of child stunting and contribute to the evidence base for what works best, in five regions of Tanzania.  Formative research to develop feasible and effective intervention strategies to build knowledge, skills and motivation to improve infant and young child feeding and dietary diversity, including engagement of fathers in support of improved practices, household food security, and child nutritional status.

Participatory engagement of local advisors in an innovative mentoring approach to strengthen capacity to deliver intersectoral nutrition programs at the community level. Assessment of the impact of mentoring and other support on nutrition knowledge, self-efficacy and capacity of Tanzanian government cadres in sectors relevant to nutrition to engage in collaboration and planning of multisectoral nutrition actions.

Process evaluation of factors influencing program implementation by Community Health Workers and how the household context, including family support and gender equity, may influence uptake of recommendations for improving infant and young child feeding in Tanzania.

Identification of successful parental child feeding strategies in the context of food insecurity and psychosocial, economic, health, and environmental barriers to adopting practices that support maintenance of healthy child weights.

Evaluation of interventions to prevent unhealthy weight gain among low-income children, delivered through educational programs for parents and community collaborations to promote environmental change.

Birhanu Z, Chapleau GM, Ortolano SE, Mamo G, Martin SL, Dickin KL. Ethiopian women’s perspectives on antenatal care and iron-folic acid supplementation: Insights for translating global antenatal calcium guidelines into practice. Maternal & Child Nutrition (in press)

Omotayo MO, Dickin KL, Pelletier DL, Martin SL, Kung’u JK, Stoltzfus RJ. Feasibility of integrating calcium and iron-folate supplementation to prevent preeclampsia and anemia in pregnancy in primary healthcare facilities in Kenya. Maternal & Child Nutrition (in press)

Rosa TL, Ortolano SE, Dickin KL. Remembering food insecurity: Low-income parents’ perspectives on childhood experiences and implications for measurement. Appetite 2017.

Omotayo MO, Martin SL, Stoltzfus RJ. Ortolano SE, Mwanga E, Dickin KL. With adaptation, the WHO guidelines on calcium supplementation for prevention of preeclampsia are adopted by pregnant women. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 2017. doi:10.1111/mcn.12521.

Martin SL, Omotayo MO, Pelto GH, Chapleau GM, Stoltzfus RJ, Dickin KL. Adherence-specific social support enhances adherence to calcium supplements among pregnant women in Kenya. Journal of Nutrition 2017; 147:688-696. doi:10.3945/jn.116.242503.

Lu AH, Dickin KL, Constas MA, Dollahite JS. The relationship between community nutritionists’ use of policies, systems, and environmental strategies to prevent obesity and its determinants depends on networking.  Public Health Nutrition 2017

Omotayo MO, Dickin KL, Pelletier DL, Mwanga E, Kung’u JK, Stoltzfus RJ. A simplified regimen compared to who guidelines decreases antenatal calcium supplement intake for prevention of preeclampsia in a cluster-randomized non-inferiority trial in rural Kenya. Journal of Nutrition 2017; 147 (10): 1986-1991. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.251926.

Martin SL, Birhanu Z, Omotayo MO, Kebede Y, Pelto, GH, Stoltzfus RJ Dickin KL. Measuring social support for adherence to prenatal micronutrient supplementation in Ethiopia and Kenya: Contextual adaptation of the cognitive interviewing process. Field Methods 2017; 29 (4): 317-332.

Martin SL, Omotayo MO, Chapleau GM, Stoltzfus RJ, Birhanu Z, Ortolano S, Pelto GH, Dickin KL. Adherence partners are an acceptable behavior change strategy to support calcium and iron-folic acid supplementation among pregnant women in Ethiopia and Kenya. Maternal & Child Nutrition 2016.

Martin SL, Seim GL, Wawire S, Chapleau GM, Young SL, Dickin KL. Translating formative research findings into a behavior change strategy to promote antenatal calcium and iron and folic acid supplementation in western Kenya. Maternal & Child Nutrition 2016. DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12233

Omotayo MO, Dickin KL, O’Brien KO, Neufeld LM, De-Regil LM, Stoltzfus RJ. Translating guidelines for calcium supplementation to prevent preeclampsia into policy. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal. 2016 Mar 1;7(2):275-8.

Dickin KL, Larios F, Parra PA. Cognitive interviewing to enhance comprehension and accuracy of responses to a Spanish-language nutrition program evaluation tool.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2015; 47(5): 465-471. 

Dickin KL and Seim, G. Adapting the Trials of Improved Practices approach to explore the acceptability and feasibility of nutrition and parenting recommendations: What works for low-income families?  Maternal and Child Nutrition 2015; 11:897-914.

Lu A, Dickin KL, Dollahite J. Development and application of a framework to assess community nutritionists’ use of environmental strategies to prevent obesity.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2014; 46(6), 475-483. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.05.014

Dickin KL, Hill TF, and Dollahite JS. Practice-based evidence of effectiveness in an integrated nutrition and parenting education intervention for low-income parents. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2013 (10.1016/j.jand.2013.09.029).

Dickin KL, Lent M, Lu AH, Sequeira J, Dollahite JS. Developing a measure of behavior change in a program to help low-income parents prevent unhealthy weight gain in children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2012; 44:12-21.

Dickin KL, Dollahite JS, Habicht J-P. Enhancing the intrinsic work motivation of Community Nutrition Educators: How supportive supervision and job design foster autonomy. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management 2011; 34(3):260-273.


Multi-partner community-based program implementation in Tanzania, to reduce rates of stunting among young children in communities in the region surrounding Lake Victoria. Dissemination of research results to the Government of Tanzania and non-governmental organizations to guide policy and program decision-making.

Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents Making a Difference! (HCHF) is an evidence-based tested behavioral curriculum integrating education on nutrition, physical activity, and parenting practices.  This curriculum was designed with input from Extension educators involved in CHANCE and it consists of a series of 8 workshops for low-income parents and care-givers of 3-11 year-old children. An effectiveness trial is on-going through Cornell Cooperative Extension in New York City. 


NS 2060 Preparation for Engaged Learning in Global and Public Health Science

NS 4010 Empirical Research

NS 4030 Teaching Apprenticeship

NS 6980 International Nutrition Seminar

NS 9990 Doctoral Research

Ph.D. 2003 - Cornell University, Nutrition
M.S. 1986 - Cornell University, Nutrition
B.A.Sc. 1982 - University of Guelph (Canada), Child Studies

Director, Program in International Nutrition

Community Engaged Nutrition Intervention Research (CENTIR) Group

Cornell Program in International Nutrition

Google Scholar:


Collaboration for Health, Activity, and Nutrition in Children's Environments (CHANCE)