Renee Walker, DrPH, MPH
Assistant Professor of Health Disparities
Zilber Building 415
Postdoctoral Training, W.K. Kellogg Scholar and Yerby Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
DrPH, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
MPH, Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Post Baccalaureate Program, Finch University of Health Sciences, North Chicago, IL
BA, Biology, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL
Delta Omega Honors Society-Omicron Chapter, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
Commonwealth Health Disparity Scholarship, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
Hygeia Honors Society - Drexel University School of Public Health
Interest & ExpertiseDr. Walker’s research focuses on disparities in obesity with a focus on the role of social determinants of health, including socioeconomic position, neighborhood deprivation, poverty, race/ethnicity and racial discrimination, and residential neighborhood contexts. Her recent research explores disparities in the neighborhood food environment and in access to healthy and nutritious foods. One particular interest of Dr. Walker’s is in the types of food stores in neighborhoods, foods offered and affordability. She uses a method known as concept mapping, which allows participants to identify, list, and organize and rate the importance of barriers according to their perception, and then integrates those results to compare groups through multivariate analysis. Dr. Walker has used this methodology in studying food insecurity and low-income food deserts. Her research provides empirical data to determine whether low-income households sacrifice nutritional quality for the sake of cheaper, less nutritious foods, and assists in the development of scales and instruments to measure food preferences.
As a faculty member in the Zilber School of Public Health, Dr. Walker teaches the core MPH course Public Health Principles and Practices, the Community and Behavioral Health Promotion core course Community Health Assessment, and co-teaches a Social Justice and Public Health.
Walker RE, Block J, Kawachi I (2012). Do residents of food deserts express different food buying preferences compared to residents of food oases? A Mixed-methods analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 9: 41.
Walker RE, Kawachi I (2012). The impact of food security and food availability on food buying practices. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 112(5): 711-717.
Walker RE, Fryer C, Butler J, Keane C, Kriska, A, Burke JG (2011). Factors influencing food buying practices in residents of a low-income food desert and low-income food oasis. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 5(3): 247-268.
Walker RE, Butler J, Kriska A, Keane C, Fryer CS, Burke JG (2010). How does food security impact residents of a food desert and food oasis? Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 5(4): 1-17.
Walker RE, Keane C, Burke JG (2010). Disparities and access to healthy food in the United States: A review of food deserts literature. Health & Place 16: 876-884.
Burke JG, O’Campo P, Salmon C, Walker RE (2009). Pathways connecting neighborhood nfluences and mental well-being: Socioeconomic position and gender differences. Social Science & Medicine 68(7):1294-1304.
Harralson TL, Emig JC, Polansky M, Walker RE, Cruz J (2007). Un corazon saludable: A comprehensive program designed to impact cardiac risk factors among urban latinas. Journal of Community Health 32(6): 401-412.
Walker, RE, & Kawachi, I. (2011). Race, Ethnicity, and Obesity. In J. Cawley (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity pp. 257-275. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Principal Investigator (Mentored), “Using mixed methods to explore racial/ethnic and income disparities in food access,” National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, 8/2010 – Present.
Principal Investigator, “Utilizing concept mapping to explore perceptions of factors that influence food buying practices among residents of low-income neighborhoods,” Robert Wood Johnson Seed Grant Program, Harvard School of Public Health, 11/2010 – 11/2011.