In the Spotlight – Dr. Katie Martin

Posted: 6/5/2013

Katie Martin new photoOn Thursday, May 30, 2013, Dr. Katie Martin, Assistant Professor in Residence, Department of Allied Health Sciences and K12 Scholar presented a CICATS Seminar Series entitled From Food Pantries to Food Policy.”

Despite a national network of 200 food banks and over 33,000 food pantries, almost 15% of all U.S. households are food insecure.  Food insecurity exists due to lack of resources or access to affordable, healthy food. Chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety are often linked to food insecurity.  Freshplace is a novel food pantry model located at 255 Homestead Avenue, Hartford, CT.  Its goals are to foster food security and self-sufficiency. UCONN researchers conducted a randomized control trial to evaluate the impact of Freshplace over 18 months. The goal is to create a replicable model for other local pantries and to influence policies related to food assistance programs. 

Dr. Martin understands the depth of food insecurity and the social injustices which commonly plague low- income families.  For example, we often see but don’t understand the paradox of food insecurity and obesity when healthier foods are needed, but unattainable.  This paradox is a result of healthy and unprocessed foods being inherently more expensive and less available than calorie-dense foods.   This places income challenged families and patrons of food pantries at a great disadvantage.  Freshplace addresses the underlying issues of poverty (such as unemployment, unstable housing conditions and mental health) that create the need for emergency food.   To understand how Freshplace helps communities become food secure and what you can do to help in this cause, click here to watch Dr. Martin’s full seminar.

 For more information about this program, visit http://foodandhealthequity.blogspot.com/.

The goal of the CICATS K12 award was to assist Dr. Martin in her career development through mentoring and training.  Dr. Martin is pleased to announce that she recently accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor and Director of a new undergraduate program in Public Health at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford.  Her mentors see this as a terrific culmination to her career development award. Dr. Martin is very appreciative of the generous support of CICATS to help launch her career.