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All Health Is Not Created Equal: Where You Live Matters

Shannon Zenk

Speaker: Shannon N. Zenk, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., F.A.A.N.

Director, National Institute of Nursing Research

Bethesda, MD

Date: December 9, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. ET to 1:00 p.m. ET

Videocast; Registration Required

NIH VideoCast

Event Description

Maybe the saying shouldn’t be “you are what you eat,” but rather “you are where you eat.” Social and economic factors, such as where someone lives, have powerful influences on people’s health. This association holds true not only for access to healthy food but also for other things such as housing conditions and green space availability. Such factors impact risk of exposure and susceptibility to many diseases and conditions, including COVID-19.

Dr. Shannon Zenk, Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), NIH, will deliver the 2020 Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies. She will explore the science behind social determinants of health and demonstrate how vital effective integrative or multilevel approaches are when addressing health and health inequities. Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, and otherwise spend their time. They affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Dr. Zenk will share how to better understand what affects people’s health and drives health disparities, and ultimately how to develop effective interventions to improve the public’s health and eliminate inequities.

Dr. Zenk brings a unique perspective as a nurse, a population health scientist, and, since September 2020, the Director of NINR. The lecture is supported by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health with a generous gift from Bernard and Barbro Osher. Individuals who need reasonable accommodation to participate should contact or the Federal Relay, 1-800-877-8339, by December 2.

Register now through Eventbrite.

Speaker Bio

Shannon N. Zenk, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., F.A.A.N., is Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institutes of Health (NIH). A registered nurse and leading population health researcher, she was previously a Nursing Collegiate Professor in the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing, and a fellow at the UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy.

Dr. Zenk’s research focuses on social inequities and health with a goal of identifying effective, multilevel approaches to improve health and eliminate racial/ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities. Her research portfolio has included NIH-supported work into urban food environments, community health solutions, and veterans’ health. Through pioneering research on the built environment and food deserts, Dr. Zenk and her colleagues helped bring national attention to the problem of inadequate access to healthful foods in low-income and Black neighborhoods.

Dr. Zenk’s honors include election as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and induction into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. She has been a visiting scholar in Rwanda and Australia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing, magna cum laude, from Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington; her master’s degrees in public health nursing and community health sciences from UIC; and her doctorate in health behavior and health education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.