My name is Johanna and I am a PhD Candidate in the Food Policy and Applied Nutrition (FPAN) program.
I was born and raised in Honduras and came to the United States after high school to pursue higher education. Prior to joining the Tufts community I received a Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences at Rice University, and in 2011, I completed my Masters degree in Public Health Sciences with a specialization in health economics and health promotion at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
While in college, I interned at Plan International and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in El Salvador, where I solidified my desire to pursue a career in public health policy and nutrition research. My involvement in these projects provided me with a great deal of substantive knowledge in the area of food security interventions, and these experiences were instrumental in developing my interest in program design and evaluation. After graduation, I worked as a research assistant at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC). In this capacity, I worked closely with two research projects – the Healthy Kids Houston Program and the Walking School Bus program. While in Sweden, it became clear I was interested in participating in social change, specifically in the field of nutrition, and I am confident that my doctoral training will prepare me to make significant contributions to the nutrition field by using high-quality research to improve the health and nutritional status of underserved populations.
In addition to full-time coursework at the Friedman School of Nutrition I work as a teaching assistant at the Friedman School, and have served as a student representative on the Friedman policy admissions committee. Additionally, as a Gerald J. Friedman Fellow in Nutrition and Citizenship I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Beatrice Rogers on the Title II Food Aid Exit Strategies Study (Bolivia, Honduras India and Kenya). I currently work closely with Dr. Patrick Webb and Dr. Shibani Ghosh as research assistant for the Feed the Future Nutrition Innovation Lab-Asia. My research efforts are focused on an upcoming study in Nepal; my dissertation work will be built off of this work in Nepal.
Upon the completion of my PhD, I intend to pursue a career with an international health and/or nutrition organization that allows me to focus on childhood malnutrition interventions research. I hope to continue exploring the complex interactions between socio-demographic, nutrition and intervention processes and the health implications for children in these contexts.
My research interests include food safety, stunting, food access, maternal and child health, nutrition and food security interventions, and program design.