March 3, 2017 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2017 calendar had barely registered February and Christine Blake had already traveled to California and New York to deliver invited talks for the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation and Cornell University. The associate professor of health promotion, education, and behavior (HPEB) was asked to share her two decades of expertise in food and community nutrition.
Over time, Blake’s research has evolved to focus on contextual and cognitive factors that influence food choice behaviors. Her work also looks at how people and organizations shape these behaviors in children.
At the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation Scientific Session in La Jolla, Calif., Blake discussed Understanding Drivers of Food Choice in Diverse and Dynamic Settings: Conceptual and Methodological Innovations. After explaining food choice, she led a discussion on nutrition in the developing world, including challenges such as undernutrition and obesity as well as nutrition interventions.
Together with HPEB Professor Edward Frongillo, Blake currently has a $5.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK government to support 15 research projects aimed at understanding drivers of food choice in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. During her talk, Blake shared details on the eight projects that are already underway in India, Uganda, Malawi (two projects), Ghana, Vietnam, Tanzania, and Indonesia.
The week following her talk in California, Blake traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. to serve as the invited speaker for the Janet Clay White ’61 Lecture in Community Nutrition at Cornell University, where she earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees in community nutrition. This prestigious lecture series, sponsored by the College of Human Ecology’s Division of Nutritional Sciences and the Cornell Cooperative Extension, takes place every two years.
Blake’s talk, Construction of Children’s Snacks and Meals in Food Insecure Households: Purpose, Context, and Chaos, was live streamed for those who could not attend in person. “We felt this was an important topic and another way to bring the resources of Cornell University to the people of Seneca County,” said Mo Tidball, nutrition issue leader at the Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension, which provided the webinar. “Lack of food is a genuine problem for many in our area and we hope that anyone who is involved with childhood nutrition or the food safety net will join us for this presentation from campus.”