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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, E2531

Research Interests

food policy; food systems; diet quality; food security; food systems related climate change; community interventions; cooking skills and behavior; 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 security, reducing food systems related climate change, 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 and promote environmentally sustainable and healthy food choices. 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)
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)

Excellence in Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2023) 

Select Publications

Selected Publications

  • Wolfson JA, Musicus AA, Leung CW, Gearhardt AN, Falbe J. (2022) Effect of climate change impact menu labels on fast food ordering choices among US adults: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Network Open. 5(12):e2248320. PMID: 36574248

  • Wolfson JA, Posluszny H*, Kronsteiner-Gicevic S, Willett W, Leung CW. (2022) Food insecurity and less frequent cooking dinner at home are associated with lower diet quality in a national sample of low-income adults in the US during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. May 13;S2212-2672(22)00272-6. PMID: 35569728

  • 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

  • Wolfson JA, Insolera N, Cohen AJ, Leung CW.  (2021) The effect of food insecurity during college on graduation and type of degree attained: evidence from a nationally representative longitudinal survey. Public Health Nutrition. Feb;25(2):389-397. PMID: 34321134

  • Wolfson JA, Tse J*, Ho A*, Bowie J, Maruthur N, Richardson CR, Trubek A. (2023) Complex, varied and evolving manifestations of food agency in daily life among Diabetes Prevention Program participants in Baltimore, Maryland. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Apr25;S1499-4046(23)00035-0. PMID: 37097264

  • Wolfson JA, Leung CW, Moran A. (2021) Meeting the moment: Policy changes to strengthen SNAP and improve health. Milbank Quarterly Opinion. Available at:


Effects of implementation and de-implementation of SNAP policy changes during COVID-19
DPP Cooks
Cooking frequency, food security and other outcomes across the globe: Gallup World Poll data
Policies and strategies to promote healthy food retail