Sara A. John, MSEd
Friedman School, Tufts University
Mentor Dr. Parke Wilde
I am a doctoral student in the Food Policy and Applied Nutrition program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. My research interests are related to federal nutrition assistance programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), National School Lunch Program, and School Breakfast Program. During the course of my doctoral work, I hope to investigate how to drive nutritious diets through these programs, as focusing on national programs provides an opportunity to impact communities most at risk for obesity, diabetes, and other health disparities at the large scale necessary to reverse current trends.
Before becoming a doctoral student at Tufts, I was a high school science teacher in inner-city Baltimore where I strived to shift educational trajectories for my students while also creating a healthier food environment through school breakfast restructuring and nutrition education. My on-the-ground work in schools made clear the need for broader change that could create lasting impact, both inside and outside of my classroom, and led me to the nonprofit Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). In support of PHA’s work with First Lady Michelle Obama and the private sector to help end childhood obesity, I facilitated macro-level interventions to create healthier food environments while continuing to advocate for communities most impacted by health disparities.