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Karla L. Hanson, PhD

Cornell Public Health 

Department of Public & Ecosystem Health

Professor of Practice

Cornell Public Health

Department of Public & Ecosystem Health
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, NY 14853


Office: 607.255.8075

Research Interest

Dr. Hanson’s research primarily focuses on food security, food access, and dietary quality in the U.S., with a particular emphasis on public policies affecting low-income families with children. She uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore food security and access to healthy food through farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture, home and community gardening, civic engagement, and systems of mutual aid.

In partnership with Mutual Aid Tompkins (MAT), undergraduate and MPH students are working with Dr. Hanson to understand the operations of food sharing cabinets located throughout Tompkins County. Operating under the principle of “neighbors supporting neighbors to meet survival needs,” MAT food sharing cabinets are in outdoor locations that can be accessed by residents who have food to share and residents who need food. The research team is using a variety of methods to estimate the flow of food into and out of food sharing cabinets; to assess satisfaction, barriers, and perceived impact of use of food sharing cabinets; and to explore community connectedness.

Dr. Hanson is collaborating on research into food self-procurement strategies (i.e., foraging, gardening, fishing, and hunting) and reliance on locally sourced foods in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York State. Findings from this study will inform both efforts to support people currently in crisis and future food system planning.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and partnerships with cooperative extension and 12 farms, Dr. Hanson and collaborators recently completed The Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK) intervention trial. F3HK provided a half-price CSA coupled with tailored nutrition education and cooking tools to low-income families with children in rural and micropolitan communities in four states. This randomized controlled trial found that participation in F3HK for just one summer improved fruit and vegetable intake among caregivers by 1 cup and increased household food security by 13 percentage points.


  • PhD, Public Administration. Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, New York, NY.  
  • BA, Economics and Sociology.  Union College, Schenectady, NY

Biography/Professional Experience

Dr. Hanson is Professor of Practice in the Department of Public & Ecosystem Health, and a member of the Graduate Fields of Nutrition and Public Health and Planetary Health. From 2005-2019, she was a Researcher and Senior Lecturer in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. Prior to coming to Cornell, Dr. Hanson held faculty appointments in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School in New York City. Dr. Hanson also has experience working at a federally qualified primary care health center.


  1. Seguin-Fowler RA, Hanson KL, Jilcott Pitts SB, Kolodinsky J, Sitaker M, Ammerman A, Marshall GA, Belarmino EH, Garner JA, Wang W. Community Supported Agriculture plus Nutrition Education Improves Skills, Self-efficacy, and Eating Behaviors among Low-Income Caregivers but not their Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2021 DOI: 10.1186/s12966-021-01168-x.
  2. Sitaker M, McCall M, Wang W, Vaccaro M, Kolodinsky JM, Ammerman A, Jilcott Pitts S, Hanson KL, Smith DK, Seguin-Fowler RA. Models for Nonprofit Cost-offset Community Supported Agriculture Programs. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 2021 DOI: 10.5304/jafscd.2021.104.003.
  3. Seguin-Fowler RA, Hanson KL, Marshall GA, Belarmino EH, Jilcott Pitts SB, Kolodinsky J, Sitaker M, Ammerman A. Fruit and vegetable intake assessed by repeat 24-hr recalls, but not by a dietary screener, is associated with skin carotenoid measurements in children. Nutrients. 2021. DOI: 10.3390/nu13030980.
  4. Sitaker M, McCall M, Kolodinsky J, Wang W, Ammerman AS, Bulpitt K, Jilcott Pitts SB, Hanson KL, Volpe LC, Seguin-Fowler RA. Helping farmers with continuation planning for cost-offset community support agriculture to low-income families. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 2020, 9(4):93–112. DOI: 10.5304/jafscd.2020.094.037.
  5. Garner JA, Jilcott Pitts SB, Hanson KL, Ammerman A, Kolodinsky J, Sitaker M, Seguin-Fowler RA. Making community-supported agriculture accessible to low-income families: findings from the Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids process evaluation. Translational Behavioral Medicine. 2020. DOI: 10.1093/tbm/ibaa080
  6. Lu I, Hanson KL, Jilcott Pitts SB, Kolodinsky J, Ammerman A, Sitaker M, Wang W, Volpe LC, Belarmino EH, Garner J, Gonsalves L, Seguin RA. Perceptions of nutrition education classes offered in conjunction with a community-supported agriculture intervention among low-income families. Public Health Nutrition. 2020. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980020002773
  7. Walsh C, Seguin-Fowler R, Ammerman A, Hanson K, Jilcott Pitts SB, Kolodinsky J, Sitaker M, Ennett S.  Snacking, Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Child Obesity in Low-Income Households. Nutrition and Food Science. 2020. DOI: 10.1108/NFS-02-2020-0048.
  8. Galie K, Hanson KL. Food Preferences and Price, but Not Value, Were Associated with Sales in a Discounted Food Buying Program. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 2020, 16:387-405. DOI: 10.1080/19320248.2020.1721390.
  9. Morgan EH, Graham ML, Marshall GA, Hanson KL, Seguin-Fowler RA. Serum Carotenoids Are Strongly Associated with Dermal Carotenoids but Not Self-reported Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Overweight and Obese Women. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2019, 16:104. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-019-0869-3.
  10. Hanson KL, Volpe LC, Kolodinsky J, Hwang G, Wang W, Jilcott Pitts SB, Sitaker M, Ammerman AS, Seguin RA. Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Behaviors regarding Fruits and Vegetables among Cost-offset Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Applicants, Purchasers, and a Comparison Sample. Nutrients. 2019, 11:1320. DOI: 10.3390/nu11061320.
  11. Hanson KL, Garner J, Connor LM, Jilcott Pitts JB, McGuirt J, Harris R, Kolodinsky J, Wang W, Sitaker M, Ammerman A, Seguin RA. Fruit and Vegetable Preferences and Practices may Hinder Participation in Community Supported Agriculture among Low-income Rural Families. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2019, 51:57-67.  DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2018.08.006.
  12. Seguin RA, McGuirt JT, Jilcott Pitts SB, Garner J, Hanson KL, Kolodinsky J, Sitaker M. Knowledge and experience related to community supported agriculture and local foods among nutrition educators. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 2018. DOI: 10.1080/19320248.2018.1549520.
  13. McGuirt J, Jilcott Pitts SB, Hanson KL, DeMarco M, Seguin RA, Kolodinsky J, Becot F, Ammerman A.  A modified choice experiment to examine willingness to participate in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program among low-income parents. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 2018. DOI: 10.1017/S1742170518000364.
  14. White M, Jilcott Pitts SB, McGuirt J, Hanson KL, Kolodinsky J, Morgan EH, Wang W, Sitaker M, Ammerman A, Seguin RA. The perceived influence of cost-offset community supported agriculture on food access among low-income families. Public Health Nutrition. 2018, 21(15): 2866-2874. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980018001751
  15. Morgan EH, Severs MM, Hanson KL, McGuirt J, Becot F, Wang W, Kolodinsky J, Sitaker M, Jilcott Pitts SB, Ammerman A, Seguin RA. Gaining and maintaining a competitive edge: Evidence from CSA members and farmers on local food marketing strategies.  Sustainability. 2018, 10(7): 2177. DOI: 10.3390/su10072177
  16. Hanson KL and Connor L.  Eating on school and non-school days among children at-risk for food insecurity: Implications for weekend food backpack programs. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 2017. DOI: 10.1080/19320248.2017.1364187
  17. Hanson KL, Kolodinsky J, Wang W, Morgan EH, Jilcott Pitts SB, Ammerman AS, Sitaker M, Seguin RA. Adults and children in low-income households that participate in cost-offset community supported agriculture have high fruit and vegetable consumption. Nutrients. 2017; 9(7):726. DOI: 10.3390/nu9070726
  18. Seguin RA, Morgan EH, Hanson KL, Ammerman AS, Jilcott Pitts SB, Kolodinsky J, Sitaker M, Becot F, Connor LM, Garner JA, and McGuirt JT. Study Protocol -- Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK): An innovative community supported agriculture intervention to prevent childhood obesity in low-income families and strengthen local agricultural economies. BMC Public Health. 2017; 17:306. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-017-4202-2
  19. Hanson KL, Connor LM, Olson, CM and Mills G. Household Instability and Unpredictable Earnings Hinder Coping in Households with Food Insecure Children. Journal of Poverty. 2016; 20(4): 464-483. DOI: 10.1080/10875549.2016.1141382
  20. Hanson KL and Connor LM. Food Insecurity and Dietary Quality among US Adults and Children: a systematic review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014; 100(2):684-692. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084525

Professional/Academic Affiliations

  • American Public Health Association
  • Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior