Marlene Schwartz


Educational Background:
Ph.D., Psychology, Yale University, 1996
M.Phil., Psychology, Yale University, 1993
M.S., Psychology, Yale University, 1992
B.A., Haverford College, 1988 

*** Dr. Schwartz is accepting new doctoral students for Fall 2024. ***
Dr Schwartz is Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Health. The mission of the Rudd Center is to promote solutions to food insecurity, poor diet quality, and weight bias through research and policy.

Current projects:
  • Assessing and strengthening school district wellness policies
  • Tracking and improving the nutritional quality of food bank and food pantry inventory
    • Nutrition Ranking in Food Banks and Pantries:  WellSCAN
  • Assessing how pediatricians talk to patients about diet, weight, and eating behaviors
  • Measuring the impact of Universal Free School Meals
  • Summer Food Service Program

Professional interests:
  • Measuring and strengthening local school wellness policies
  • The impact of the school nutrition environment on student diet and health
  • The Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community Model  
  • Maximizing nutrition quality in food banks and food pantries
  • Decreasing the harm of unhealthy food marketing to youth

View more about Dr. Schwartz’s research at the Rudd Center website’s pages on schools and food security.

Selected Recent Publications:  
[Note: All Rudd Center publications and reports are available from the Rudd Center’s Resource Database]

* Designates UConn student and post-doc authors

  1. Schwartz, M.B., & Caspi, C. (2023). The Charitable Food System as a Change Agent. Frontiers in Public Health, 11, 1201.
  2. Schwartz, M.B., Chafouleas, S.M., Koslouski, J.B. (2023) Expanding school wellness policies to encompass the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. Frontiers in Public Health 11:1143474.
  3. Gombi-Vaca, M.F. & Schwartz, M.B. (2023) Evaluation of US Department of Agriculture Foods programs for households using nutrition guidelines for the charitable food system. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  4. Lewis, K.H.; Hsu, F.-C.; Block, J.P.; Skelton, J.A.; Schwartz, M.B.; Krieger, J.; Hindel, L.R.; Ospino Sanchez, B.; Zoellner, J. A (2023) Technology-Driven, Healthcare-Based Intervention to Improve Family Beverage Choices: Results from a Pilot Randomized Trial in the United States. Nutrients, 15, 2141.
  5. *Jiang, Q., Risica, P.M., Tovar, A., Cooksey Stowers, K., Schwartz, M., Lombardi, C., and Gans, K.M. (in press) Nutrition practices of family childcare home providers and children’s diet quality. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
  6. *Lawrence, S., Puhl., R., Watson, R., Schwartz, M., Lessard, L., Foster, G. (2023). Family-based weight stigma and psychosocial health: A multinational comparison. Obesity.
  7. Musicus, A.A., Gibson, L.A., Bellamy, S.L., Orr, J.A., Hammond, D., Glanz, K., Vlopp, K.G., Schwartz, M.B., Bleakley, A., Starasser, A.A., Roberto, C.A. (2023). Effects of sugary beverage text & pictorial warnings: A randomized trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine
  8. A.N., Gardner, C.D., Kendrick, K.B., Seligman, H.K., Yaroch, A.L, Gomes, A.V., Ivy, K.N., Scarmo, S., Cotwright, C.J., & Schwartz, M.B. (2022). Strengthening US Food Policies and Programs to Promote Equity in Nutrition Security: A Policy Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation,
  9. *McKee, S.L., Xu, R., & Schwartz, M.B. (2022). Assessing the Effects of a Statewide Training Initiative on Local School Wellness Policies. Health Promotion Practice.
  10. Levi, R., Schwartz, M.B., Campbell, E., Martin, K., Seligman, H. (2022). Nutrition standards for the charitable food system: challenges and opportunities. BMC Public Health 22, 495.
  11. *McKee, S.L., *Thorne, T., Koslouski, J.B., Chafouleas, S.M., & Schwartz, M.B. (2022). Assessing District Policy Alignment with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model in Connecticut, 2019 to 2020. The Journal of School Health.
  12. *Bennett, B. L., Gans-Deluca, K., *Burkholder, K., Esposito, J., *Warykas, S. W., & Schwartz, M.B. (2022). Distributing Summer Meals during a Pandemic: Challenges and Innovations. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(6).
  13. Schwartz, M.B., Leider, J., Cohen, J.F.W., Turner, L., Chriqui, J.F. (2021). Association between nutrition policies and student body mass index. Nutrients, 13.
  14. *Connolly, K., Babbin, M.I., *McKee, S.L., McGinn, K., Cohen, J.F.W., Chafouleas, S.M., Schwartz, M.B. (2021). Dedication, innovation, and collaboration: A mixed-methods analysis of school meals in Connecticut during COVID-19. J of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.
  15. *Boehm, R., Cooksey, K., Schneider, G.E., & Schwartz, M.B. (2021). Race, Ethnicity, and Neighborhood Food Environment Are Associated with Adolescent Sugary Drink Consumption During a 5-Year Community Campaign. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
  16. *Jensen, M.L., & Schwartz, M.B. (2021). Junk food consumption trends point to the need for retail policies. In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  17. Cohen J.F.W., Hecht, A.A., Hager, E.R., Turner, L., *Burkholder, K., & Schwartz, M.B. (2021). Strategies to Improve School Meal Consumption: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 13(10).
  18. Koriakin, T.A., McKee, S.L., Schwartz, M.B., Chafouleas, S.M. (2020). Development of a comprehensive tool for school health policy evaluation: The WellSAT WSCC. Journal of School Health. 90(12):923-939.
  19. Schwartz, M., Levi, R., Lott, M., Arm, K., Seligman, H. (2020). Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for The Charitable Food System. Durham, NC: Healthy Eating Research. Available at:
  20. Schwartz M, Piekarz, E, Read M, Chriqui J. (2020). Wellness School Assessment Tool Version 3.0: An updated quantitative measure of written school wellness policies. Preventing Chronic Disease.2;17:E52.
  21. *Boehm R, Read M, Henderson K, Schwartz M. (2020). Removing competitive foods v. nudging and marketing school meals: A pilot study in high school cafeterias. Public Health Nutrition. February 23:2:1-8
  22. Cohen J, Schwartz M. (2020).  Documented Success and Future Potential of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and January 1-4.
  23. Schwartz M, Brownell K, Miller L. (2019). Primer on US food and nutrition policy and public health: Protect school nutrition standards. American Journal of Public Health. 109: 990-991.
  24. *McKee S, *Cooksey-Stowers K, St. Louis R, Schwartz M. (2019). Understanding the process of implementing nutrition and physical activity policies in a large national child care organization: a mixed-methods study. Translational Behavioral Medicine. April 1-11.
  25. Stein E, *Cooksey-Stowers K, McCabe M, White M, Schwartz M. (2019). Ingredient bundles and recipe tastings in food pantries: a pilot study to increase the selection of healthy foods. Public Health Nutrition. March 1-6.
  26. Schwartz M, Seligman H. (2019). The Unrealized Health Promoting Potential of a National Network of Food Pantries. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. 14:1-2
  27. *Boehm, R., Read, M., Henderson, K.E., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Juice displaces milk and fruit in high school lunches. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
  28. Ickovics, J.R., O’Connor-Duffany, K., Shebl, F.M., Peters, S.M., Read, M., Gilstad-Hayden, K., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Implementing school-based policies to prevent obesity: Cluster randomized trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Jan; 56(1):e1-e11. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.08.026
  29. *Cooksey-Stowers, K., Martin, K., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Client preferences for nutrition interventions in food pantries. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 14,18-34.
  30. *Cooksey-Stowers, K., Martin, K., Read, M., Wolff, M., McCabe, M., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Food pantry staff perceptions of a nutrition rating system to guide client choice. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, 14, 35-49.
  31. *Foster J., Schwartz M., Grenier R., Burke M., Taylor E., Mobley A. (2018). A qualitative investigation into the U.S. Department of Agriculture 18-item Household Food Security Survey Module: Variations in interpretation, understanding and report by gender. Journal of Public Affairs. e.1862.
  32. Martin, K., Callahan, K., Wolff, M. & Schwartz, M.B. (2018). Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP): Development of a nutrition stoplight system for food banks and food pantries. Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. May: 1-7.

Selected examples of national media coverage:

The Conversation (March 18, 2022)

Schools will stop serving free lunch to all students – a pandemic solution left out of a new federal spending package

NBC News (October 13, 2021)

New FDA Guidance Aims to Drastically Cut Salt in Food Supply

USA Today (June 1, 2021)

A color-coded system could help people make healthier choices at food pantries, study shows

CNN (March 23, 2021)

Surge in Child Hunger Overwhelms Richest U.S. Countries

US News & World Report (February 2, 2021)

How Connecticut Schools Have Gotten Lunch to Kids Who Need It

The Counter (June 11, 2020)

Calorie labeling—once fiercely opposed by restaurants—could save thousands of lives and billions in health expenses

Reuters (February 21, 2020)

School lunch overhaul led to healthier meals for U.S. kids

Food Navigator (January 14, 2020)

Experts urge industry to work with schools to improve kids’ meals even as standards are rolled back

Business Insider (December 20, 2019)

Nearly all U.S. kids eating added sugars before age two

NBC News (December 18, 2019)

America’s obesity epidemic, especially among women, expected to get worse

US News and World Report (December 18, 2019)

Half of U.S. Adults Will Be Obese in 10 Years

Huffington Post (September 13, 2019)

This Is Why The U.S. Is Failing To Tackle Childhood Obesity

NPR (August 25, 2019)

Praise, Don’t Tease, And Other Tips To Help Kids With Their Weight

Washington Post (June 9, 2019)

Students, bored by cafeteria fare, love food delivery services; schools don’t.

NPR (April 11, 2019)

Climate change and our health

Los Angeles Times (January 28, 2019)

Obesity, climate change and hunger must be fought as one, health experts declare

CNBC (December 11, 2018)

New school lunch rules: Trump administration makes it easier to serve white bread

CNN (October 24, 2018)

Childhood obesity: America’s ‘true national crisis’ measured state by state

The Washington Post (December 5, 2017)

Food-makers are taking salt and sugar out of food. But they’re adding fat.

NPR (March 13, 2017)

Un-Sweetened: How A Maryland County Cut Soda Sales Without A Soda Tax


Marlene Schwartz
Contact Information
Phone(959) 200-3521
Mailing Address1 Constitution Plaza, Suite 600, Hartford CT 06103
CoursesHDFS 3425 Food and the American Family: Fall 2022