Executive Director and Research Associate Professor of Nutrition Education
Pam conducts research about the connections between a just, sustainable food system and healthy eating. She translates the results from her research into useful resources such as curricula for schoolteachers and recommendations for policy makers. Pam is the primary author of the three Linking Food and the Environment (LiFE) curriculum series books: Growing Food; Farm to Table & Beyond, and Choice, Control & Change and coordinated the development, evaluation and dissemination of the LiFE. Pam frequently speaks about nutrition education and sustainable food systems at meetings and conferences across the country. Pam also collaborates with several groups conducting food and nutrition education and working to increase access to healthy, sustainable food around New York City. She completed her BS and MS degrees in nutrition at Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, and her EdD and RD from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Faculty Director and Mary Swartz Rose Professor of Nutrition Education
Isobel Contento, Ph.D., CDN is a Mary Swartz Rose Professor of Nutrition Education, Director of the Program in Nutrition at Teachers College Columbia University, and Faculty Director of its Laure M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Environment. Her degrees include a B.Sc. (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research has focused on factors influencing food choice, particularly among children and adolescents, and the development and evaluation of school-based programs that link science education and nutrition literacy to increase an understanding of food and food systems. In recent years, she has focused on linking childhood obesity prevention to food system education in collaboration with colleague Dr. Pam Koch: Choice, Control and Change, funded by NIH, sought to reduce the risk of overweight in youth through an emphasis on personal agency and autonomous motivation in healthful food and activity choices; Food, Health and Choices, a study with fifth graders funded by USDA compared classroom curriculum and wellness policy in enhancing healthful choices; and evaluation projects examine the impact of changes in school meals, education, and physical activity on children’s healthful behaviors. She has also conducted research with adults on food choice motivations and interventions to improve health and reduce risk of chronic disease. She is particularly interested in the use of theory and research evidence to design and evaluate nutrition education programs and the intersection of education and policy. She has been active in the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) for many years, serving on various committees including the Journal Committee, the Board of Directors, and currently the Board of Trustees of the SNEB Foundation. She has been a member of several national advisory committees including the committee of the Institute of Medicine that produced Nutritional Standards for Food in Schools and the Technical Expert Collaborative of the USDA Evidence Library for Nutrition Education. She has spoken widely in the United States and at international conferences and non-governmental organizations, including Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Malta, Mexico, and El Salvador. She has published numerous articles and book chapters, and has served on the editorial boards of several journals. The third edition of her textbook, Nutrition Education, Linking Research, Theory and Practice was published in August, 2015.
Assistant Executive Director
Claire’s work focuses on building toward an equitable and sustainable food system. Claire takes the lead on policy efforts, community partnerships, and external relations for the Tisch Food Center. Her professional experience spans urban agriculture, food policy and community food security. Prior to the Center she was with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and before that served as Executive Director of Wasatch Community Gardens in Salt Lake City. She has a BA in Art History from Colgate University and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from University of California, Los Angeles.
Julia McCarthy is a policy analyst at the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education, and Policy. In her role at the Tisch Food Center, Julia researches state and local nutrition education programs and policies. Julia has previously worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Julia graduated with a B.A. in History from Georgetown University and has a law degree from New York University where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar.
Evaluation Project Coordinator
Raynika Trent has conducted community-based research and education research with K-12 populations in formal and informal learning environments. She received a BA from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, an EdM in Human Resource Education and Organizational Development from the University of Illinois, and a Master's in Food Studies from New York University.
Doctoral & Master Students
Cristina is a doctoral student at Teachers College Columbia University specializing in Behavioral Nutrition. She is interested in the impact of policies and regulations for the promotion of healthy diets, the use of national dietary guidelines for public education and improvement of professional training in nutrition education. Most of her work takes place in developing countries.
She worked as a consultant for the Nutrition and Food Systems Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations for four years on consumer education and capacity building projects in nutrition education, in particular supporting a network of nutrition educators in Latin America (the RED ICEAN) and updating FAO’s new dietary guidelines website. Currently she is consulting with the Statistic’s Division at FAO on a project aimed at improving the use of household consumption and expenditure surveys through the development of nutrition indicators in a software (ADePT-Food Security Module) developed by the World Bank and FAO.
Cristina has a BSc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain) and earned a MSc in International Nutrition and Public Health from Wageningen University (The Netherlands).
Tisch Policy Scholar
Teachers College Doctoral Fellow
Rachel is a doctoral fellow and public health dietitian in the Department of Health & Behavior Studies, interested in nutrition communications and related obesity effects. She is currently a research assistant at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health where she is examining the effects of electronic and classroom-based education on diet and activity behaviors among breast cancer patients and survivors. Rachel is also the primary investigator on a few studies examining social influence on eating behaviors among children and college students, faculty, and staff. Her counseling experience as a dietitian spans private practice and worksite wellness settings. Rachel serves on the local and national levels in various societies; at present she is the 2015-16 Chairman Elect for the Communications Division of the Society for Nutrition Education & Behavior and the Student Representative for the Research Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with her master’s and bachelor’s in Public Health Nutrition.
Research Assistant, Laurie M. Tisch Doctoral Fellow
Renata is a doctoral student in the Politics and Education program, in the department of Education Policy and Social Analysis. She is interested in the intersection of community engagement, education, and policy, specifically on how community groups can impact policies relating to schools. Renata works on policy issues at the Center, including participation in a coalition interested in the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and looking into the universal free lunch policy being implemented in middle schools in New York City. Renata's experience prior to coming to the Center included teaching, implementation of education programs in the Mayor's Office of Philadelphia, program evaluation, and policy analysis. She graduated from Swarthmore College with a dual degree in Political Science and Education, and received her master’s degree in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. In the future, Renata hopes to work in a research organization dedicated to educational equity issues.
Doctoral Candidate in Nutrition Education
Deborah is a doctoral student pursuing a doctorate in education specializing in nutrition and public health. Her focus is on food and nutrition education in schools. She is also the doctoral scholar for Nutritional Ecology and Community Nutrition. In addition, Deborah manages the TC Nutrition Newsblasts and the News and Notes on the nutrition program's website at Teachers College. Deborah received her Masters in nutrition and public health from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has an undergraduate degree in music from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.