Dr. Schwartz is Director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity and Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Schwartz’s research and community service address how home environments, school landscapes, neighborhoods, and the media shape the eating attitudes and behaviors of children.
Dr. Schwartz earned her PhD in Psychology from Yale University in 1996. Prior to joining the Rudd Center, she served as Co-Director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders from 1996 to 2006. She has collaborated with the Connecticut State Department of Education to evaluate nutrition and physical activity policies in schools and preschools throughout the state. She co-chaired the Connecticut Obesity Task Force and has provided expert testimony on obesity-related state policies. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Food Bank.
Dr. Schwartz has received research grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health to study school wellness policies, the preschool nutrition environment, the effect of food marketing on children, the relationship between food insecurity and nutrition, and how federal food programs can improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods. In 2014, Dr. Schwartz received the Sarah Samuels Award from the Food and Nutrition Section of the American Public Health Association. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has profiled Dr. Schwartz’s life and career.
The pandemic has accelerated the emergence of a number of innovations in food banks and pantries and encouraged client-centered practices like trauma-informed services, mobile and delivery options, say guest columnists Caitlin Caspi and Marlene Schwartz.