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Who are we?

The Healthy Stores projects aim to improve health and prevent obesity and disease in low-income communities through culturally appropriate store-based interventions that increase the supply of healthy foods and promote their purchase.


Dr. Joel Gittelsohn
Professor in the Center for Human Nutrition and Director of Community Interventions

Dr. Joel Gittelsohn is a Professor in the Center for Human Nutrition and the Global Obesity Prevention Center, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Gittelsohn is a public health nutritionist, who for 26 years has focused on developing, implementing and evaluating community-based programs for the primary prevention of chronic disease in disadvantaged ethnic minority populations. With 230 publications in peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Gittelsohn has led multiple food source-centered intervention trials aimed at improving the food environment and providing skills and nutrition education needed to support healthy food choices in the Marshall Islands, in American Indian/First Nations communities, in Baltimore City, and for Native Hawaiian communities. Dr. Gittelsohn developed a multi-institutional program for diabetes prevention in 7 First Nations in schools and food stores, which was extended to five American Indian communities (OPREVENT) and included worksites. He is currently implementing a multi-level program for child obesity prevention in Baltimore City, working with policymakers, recreation centers, corner stores, carryouts, families and via social media. These programs have shown success in increasing knowledge, healthy food purchasing and consumption of healthy promoted foods at the consumer level, in reducing obesity, and in improving stocking and sales at the retail level.


Bengucan Gunen
Research Associate

Bengucan is a Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health, Center for Human Nutrition. She recently received a MSPH degree in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bengucan has been coordinating our team’s work in food pantries since January 2018.


Lisa Poirier
Research Associate

Lisa manages the data collection, entry, and analysis for the healthy stores projects. Her research interests in urban food environments, food system sustainability, and the use of urban farms to alleviate food deserts.