Media Briefings

Childhood hunger before and after COVID

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What are Media Briefings?

Wednesday, May 19, at 2:00pm EDT

Food insecurity—a disruption in food access due to lack of resources—as much as doubled in the United States as result of COVID-19. But even prior to the pandemic, more than 10% of U.S. households suffered from insufficient food access, affecting 5.3 million children. SciLine’s next media briefing will cover the health and developmental effects of food insecurity for children, including when school is out of session; how the pandemic has exacerbated this problem; and what research says about the efficacy of food assistance programs such as universal free lunch. Panelists will brief reporters and then take questions on the record.


  • Dr. Eliza Kinsey, Columbia University
  • Dr. Deborah Frank, Boston University
  • Dr. Mariana Chilton, Drexel University
  • SciLine’s director, Rick Weiss, will moderate the briefing.

Register for the briefing:

Dr. Eliza Kinsey

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Dr. Eliza W. Kinsey is an associate research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Kinsey’s research focuses on social, environmental and policy determinants of health. Her current areas of inquiry include the effect of food insecurity and poverty on child and maternal health trajectories across the life course, the neighborhood food environment and its relationship to obesity and chronic disease, and the influence of food assistance policies on diet quality and health status. She prioritizes policy translation and producing research findings that contribute to the generation of data driven policies to improve population health. (Read full bio.)

Dr. Deborah Frank

Boston University School of Medicine; Boston Medical Center

Dr. Deborah Frank is a professor in pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, the director of Grow Clinic for Children at Boston Medical Center, and founder and principal investigator of Children’s HealthWatch, a network of pediatric and public health researchers working to improve child health. Her research has focused on breastfeeding promotion, women and children affected by substance use, nutrition among homeless pregnant women and children, failure to thrive, food insecurity, and the “heat or eat” phenomenon, the dilemma that many low-income families face in the winter when they have to make the critical choice between heating their homes and feeding their children. Dr. Frank has written most recently on the developmental and behavioral correlates of food insecurity in childhood and adolescence. She has testified before both the U.S. Congress and Massachusetts legislature on the growing national problem of hunger and its effects on children. (Read full bio.)

Dr. Mariana Chilton

Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Dr. Mariana Chilton is a national expert on household food insecurity, exposure to trauma, and public policy. As a professor at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, she also serves as the director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities. To ensure participation of Black and Latinx women who have experienced poverty in the national dialogue on hunger, she founded Witnesses to Hunger, a participatory action program to communicate directly to policy-makers about their ideas for improving health and wellbeing. Dr. Chilton also founded the Building Wealth and Health Network to address interpersonal and collective trauma, incentivize entrepreneurship, and build economic security among families with young children. She served as the co-chair of the National Commission on Hunger, and she has frequently testified before the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of child nutrition programs and other anti-poverty policies. (Read full bio.)