About

About

The Tisch Food Center works to give people the power to demand healthy, just, sustainable food. We conduct research that informs school food, child nutrition, and food access policies. We advocate for equitable, sustainable, healthy food and healthier school food environments, endorsing bills, submitting testimony, and leading campaigns. We build community and capacity, convening advocates, program leaders, school community members, and other stakeholders in our Food Ed Coalition, which supports NYC’s most vulnerable populations.

About Us

The  Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, in the Program in Nutrition, is a leader in nutrition education research and a hub for the intersection of food policy, nutrition education, and just, sustainable food systems. Our research studies have increased knowledge about the links between a just, sustainable food system and healthy eating and have put this knowledge to practice by developing recommendations and resources to support educators, policy makers, and community advocates in encouraging communities to make healthier choices. 

The Tisch Food Center believes that food and nutrition education has a crucial role to play in empowering people to understand and navigate the food system, as well as to become advocates for change on personal and policy levels. To realize this vision, the Tisch Food Center has established a broad research and outreach agenda, which includes:

  • Conducting research and evaluations with policy implications
  • Promoting access to an education about healthy, just, sustainable food through strong policy,  programs and funding
  • Creating and supporting nutrition education in schools and communities
  • Preparing the next generation of food and nutrition leaders

We value collaborative, interdisciplinary projects and are committed to producing useful and practical models, tools, and policy recommendations. Through our activities, we aim to train the next generation of leading nutrition professionals who are competent in both food and nutrition education and policy research and practice. 

Additionally,  Tisch Food Center and TC's Program in Nutrition is invested in the future of nutrition education and provides a space for hands-on training and opportunities within the Center. The Program in Nutrition doctoral and master’s students are at the forefront of our work, designing innovative studies, developing novel food and nutrition curricula, creating relevant and practical tools for our stakeholders, and engaging with schools, communities, and policy makers.

Mission & Vision

Our Mission

The mission of the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, in the Program in Nutrition, is to conduct research on food and nutrition education practice and policy. We translate our research into resources for educators, policy makers, and advocates to give people power to demand healthy, just, sustainable food.

Our Vision 

Transforming the status quo through food and nutrition education.

Team

Faculty

Pam Koch, EdD, RD

Executive Director, Associate Research Professor

Isobel Contento, PhD, CDN

Mary Swartz Rose Professor of Nutrition and Education

Randi Wolf, MPH, PhD

Ella McCollum Vahlteich Associate Professor of Human Nutrition

Staff

Julia McCarthy, JD

Deputy Director

Jen Cadenhead, PhD, RDN

Goldberg Postdoctoral Researcher

Master & Doctoral Students

Amanda Harb, MS

Tisch Scholar, Doctoral Student

Natalie Greaves-Peters, MS, RD

Doctoral Student

Deborah Olarte, PhD, RD

Doctoral Student

Rebecca Valdez

Tisch Scholar, Policy and Communications

Ally Mirin

Communications Intern

History

The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy is housed in the Program in Nutrition at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Program in Nutrition, founded in 1909 by Mary Swartz Rose, PhD, is the oldest university-based nutrition program in the country and established the field of nutrition education. The Program has always had a broad, inclusive focus on food and nutrition issues, conducting cutting edge research and promoting policies and practices that support ecological sustainability and personal health.

Joan Gussow, EdD, who was chair of the Program from 1975-1985, added the focus of food system sustainability and continues to emphasize this important aspect in her transformative course Nutritional Ecology, which she co-instructs with Pam Koch, EdD, RD. Isobel Contento, PhD, CDN, chair of the Program since 1985, added a focus of behavioral nutrition to the Program to promote nutrition education that increases awareness, inspiration, skills, knowledge, and environmental supports.

Today, Dr. Pam Koch and the Tisch Food Center’s faculty, staff, and students build on the strong foundation laid by Drs. Swartz Rose, Gussow, and Contento to work at the intersection of food systems, nutrition education, and public health. The Center was launched in 2006 as the Center for Food & Environment. In 2013, the Center was renamed to recognize a generous gift from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and to highlight the Center’s focus on policy.

The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, in the Program in Nutrition conducts research on food and nutrition education practice and policy. We translate our research into resources for educators, policy makers, and advocates to give people power to demand healthy, just, sustainable food. Our vision is transforming the status quo through food and nutrition education.

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