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Associate Professor

Julia Wolfson, PhD '16, MPP, studies individual, structural, and policy factors that influence food choices, diet quality, and diet-related health outcomes.

Contact Info

615 North Wolfe Street, E2612

Research Interests

food policy; food systems; diet quality; community interventions; cooking skills and behavior; food insecurity; qualitative methods; mixed-methods; CBPR
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy
New York University
My research lies at the intersection of health policy and health behavior and centers on health behaviors, environmental factors, policies, programs, and interventions related to diet quality, food insecurity, and diet related disease prevention. The overarching goal of my work is to conduct interdisciplinary and innovative research that will contribute to social and policy change, support the creation of health promoting, equitable, and sustainable food systems, help develop and implement effective policies and interventions, and ultimately, improve the public’s health.

My research uses qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods. I am especially interested in the role of home cooking skills and behaviors for diet quality, and have ongoing work focused on understanding and measuring 'food agency' and developing and evaluating food agency/community cooking skills interventions. Other research focuses on contextual, environmental, and policy factors that influence food insecurity and diet quality. Nutrition assistance programs, particularly the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are another area of research interest. Ongoing research focuses on policies and programs to address food insecurity in the United States and elucidating the short- and long-term health consequences of food insecurity across the life course. In other work I have focused on away from home food environments including chain restaurants, menu/food labeling, food access, and approaches to limit consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. Other areas of interest include efforts to promote more sustainable food systems, including by reducing meat consumption, and the diet and health implications of processed and ultra-processed foods.

In the first phase of my career I was a professional chef in fine dining restaurants in New York City and Los Angeles.
Honors & Awards
Gallatin Metropolitan Scholars Award, New York University (1997-2001)
Leo Bronstein Homage Award, New York University (2001)
Dean’s Merit Scholarship, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy (2010-2012)
Dean’s Certificate of Merit, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy (2012)
Biller Award for Most Outstanding Practicum Project, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy (2012)
Center for a Livable Future- Lerner Fellow, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2012-2016)
Johnson & Johnson Community Health Care Scholar (2013-2016)
Inducted, Delta Omega Alpha (2016)
Select Publications
Selected Publications
  • Wolfson JA, Leung CW, Richardson C. (2020) More frequent cooking at home is associated with higher Health Eating Index score. Public Health Nutrition. Jan 10: 1-11. PMID: 31918785
  • Garcia T, Ford B, Pike D, Bryce R, Richardson C, Wolfson JA. (2020) Development and pilot implementation of a community health center-based cooking skills intervention. Public Health Nutrition. E-pub ahead of print. September 30:1-12. PMID: 32993845
  • Wolfson JA, Leung CW. (2020) Food insecurity and COVID-19: disparities in early effects for US adults. Nutrients. 12(6):e1648. PMID: 32498323
  • Wolfson JA, Moran A, Jarlenski MJ, Bleich SN. (2018) Trends in sodium content of menu items in large chain restaurants in the United States. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Jan:54(1):28-36. PMID: 29056370
  • Wolfson JA, Bleich SN, Smith KC, Frattaroli S. (2016) What does cooking mean to you?: Perceptions of cooking and factors related to cooking behavior. Appetite. 97:146-54. PMID: 26654888
Food Insecurity during COVID-19
DPP Cooks