Shannon N Zenk

    Email Address:
    College: Nursing Department: Health Systems Science
    Title: Associate Professor
    Office: 1044 Phone: 355-2790
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    I conduct research on social determinants of health. Most of my research focuses on how neighborhood environments and stress affect obesity risk and related health behaviors (diet, physical activity) and contribute to health disparities based on race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

    A major focus of my research is neighborhood food availability or "food deserts." I examine differences in access to healthy and unhealthy foods and how this impacts residents' diet and health outcomes. I also examine aspects of neighborhood environments that may affect physical activity.

    I have an active program of research measuring "activity spaces," or the areas in which people spend time, and how environmental exposures in these activity spaces are related to diet and physical activity behaviors.

    Another focal area is how stress affects diet and physical activity decisions throughout the day.

    I have a new nationwide longitudinal research project examining relationships between the environment and obesity risk.

    I use a variety of technology in my research, including geographic information system (GIS) to map environmental exposures, global positioning systems (GPS) to track movement, cellular devices to conduct momentary assessments of behaviors and risk factors, and accelerometers to measure physical activity.

    Participating in my research will provide you with a greater understanding of the public health field, urban health, and health disparities.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 8

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Junior or senior preferred

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    A student is expected to attend weekly research meetings and contribute to ongoing research by completing assigned tasks in a timely manner.

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