Shiriki K. Kumanyika, PhD, MPH



Shiriki K. Kumanyika, PhD, MPH

Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Kumanyika's research focuses on ways to reduce diet-related chronic disease risks, particularly in African Americans. She has served as principal investigator or co-investigator of single-center and multi-center randomized clinical trials or observational studies related to obesity, salt intake, and other aspects of dietary intake. Several of her studies have examined ways to promote healthy eating and physical activity in African American children or adults in clinical or community-based settings. She founded and continues to chair the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN –, a national network that seeks to improve the quantity, quality and effective translation of research on weight issues in African American communities. Research to improve equity in food marketing environments in African American communities has been a major focus of AACORN’s recent research. Dr. Kumanyika is also currently engaged in research collaborations that involve the use of systems science approaches to study complex public health problems. Her external activities focus on public-health policy.

Dr. Kumanyika has an interdisciplinary background and holds advanced degrees in social work, nutrition and public health. During her tenure on the Penn Medicine faculty, Dr. Kumanyika also served as associate dean for health promotion and disease prevention, held a secondary appointment as professor of epidemiology in the Department of Pediatrics (gastroenterology, nutrition section) and was affiliated with numerous Penn institutes and centers. She was the founding director of Penn's Master of Public Health program, serving in this role from the program's inception in 2002 until May of 2007.

She is president of the American Public Health Association, co-chair of the Policy and Prevention Section of the World Obesity Federation, and a nutrition advisor to the World Health Organization. Her honors include election to membership in the Institute of Medicine (2003), receipt of the inaugural Population Research Prize from the American Heart Association (2005), receipt of the Wade Hampton Frost Lecture Award from the epidemiology section of the American Public Health Association (2011), and receipt of the Robert S. Gordon Jr. Lecture Award at the National Institutes of Health (2014).

Content Area Specialties

Obesity prevention, public health nutrition policy and practice, nutrition-related lifestyle behavior change, minority health and health disparities, nutritional epidemiology of chronic diseases, environmental influences on food intake

Methodology Specialties

General epidemiology, nutrition epidemiology, lifestyle behavior intervention trials, community-based research

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