Mary Story, PhD, RD
Program DirectorRead bio
Dr. Mary Story is Professor of Global Health and Community and Family Medicine, and Associate Director of Education and Training, Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. She started this position in January 2014. Prior to that she was Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, where she was also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine. She is Director of the national program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research program that supports research on environmental and policy strategies to promote healthy eating among children to prevent childhood obesity.
Dr. Story’s PhD is in nutrition science and her interests are in the area of child and adolescent nutrition, and childhood obesity prevention. Dr. Story has conducted numerous school and community-based obesity prevention studies and has been Principal Investigator on several NIH grants. She has 450 scientific publications on child/adolescent nutrition and obesity prevention. Dr. Story was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2010. She has been a member of several IOM Committees including Food Marketing and the Diets of Children and Youth; Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools; Childhood Obesity Prevention Actions for Local Governments; Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols; and the Standing Committee for Childhood Obesity Prevention. She currently serves on the IOM Food and Nutrition Board. She is also a member of the DHHS/USDA 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. She has received numerous awards for her research and work in the field of child and adolescent nutrition.
Megan Lott, MPH, RDN
Deputy DirectorRead bio
Megan Lott serves as Deputy Director for the Healthy Eating Research program and is based at the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. In this role, Megan manages day-to-day program operations, oversees coordination of scientific and administrative processes related to HER-funded research, engages in policy and advocacy collaborations with key partners, and identifies research priorities to advance program goals.
Prior to coming to Duke, Megan was at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. While there, she served as a Senior Associate on the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration between The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which provides nonpartisan analysis and evidence-based recommendations on federal and state policies that affect the safety and healthfulness of school foods. In this role, Megan supported research, policy, and advocacy efforts aimed at improving the school nutrition environment, including managing the first ever Health Impact Assessment to be conducted on a federal rule making process.
Other prior experience includes serving as the Associate Policy Director for the Community Food Security Coalition and the National Farm to School Network, where Megan managed federal and state policy initiatives, including advocating for passage of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Megan is a Registered Dietitian with a BS in Nutrition Sciences and Dietetics from the University of Cincinnati and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Erin Escobar, MPH
Senior Research ManagerRead bio
Erin Escobar serves as the Senior Research Manager for the Health Eating Research program and is based at the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. In this role, she coordinates scientific, administrative, and financial processes, including the grant application process, and provides ongoing technical assistance to grantees. Erin was previously a Research Manager at Duke University’s Innovations in Healthcare, a non-profit, network organization working directly with over 70 social enterprises. She led research in innovative models of care, including the development of evaluation metrics. While at Innovations in Healthcare, she directed a partnership with the Pfizer Foundation’s Global Health Innovation Grants Program, a social impact portfolio funding entrepreneurs working in primary care service delivery, maternal and child health, and healthcare technologies for low resource settings. In previous roles, Erin provided research and administration support for the Director of the Duke Global Health Institute, as well as for multiple initiatives at the UCSF Global Health Group. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kirsten Arm, MPH, RDN
Research AnalystRead bio
Kirsten Arm serves as a Research Analyst for Healthy Eating Research and is based at the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. In this role, Kirsten manages the commissioned research portfolio, assists with review processes for HER’s funding opportunities, and coordinates the HER working groups. Prior to coming to Duke, Kirsten worked as a Graduate Student Worker for Healthy Eating Research at the University of Minnesota. Kirsten also worked for the Minneapolis Health Department where she provided technical assistance and education to help small food retail stores comply with the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance (SFO). In this role, she led the annual SFO compliance checks and conducted a research project to determine how cultural food preferences impact compliance with the SFO. This research helped to inform revisions to the ordinance that now make it easier for small food retail stores to comply while continuing to provide access to healthy and culturally appropriate foods. Kirsten is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and earned a B.S. in Community-Medical Dietetics from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI and an MPH degree from the University of Minnesota.
Lauren Dawson, MPH
Communications and Program AssociateRead bio
Lauren Dawson serves as Communications and Program Associate for the Healthy Eating Research program and is based in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Her main responsibilities at Healthy Eating Research involve providing communications, technological, and administrative support to the program. Prior to joining Healthy Eating Research, Lauren worked at the Minneapolis Health Department (MHD) with their school-based clinics program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Associate Program. Lauren holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Policy from Northwestern University.
Lindsey Miller, MPH
Research AnalystRead bio
Lindsey Miller serves as a Research Analyst for the Healthy Eating Research program and is based at the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. In this role, Lindsey manages commissioned research, assists with review processes for HER’s funding opportunities, and coordinates the HER working groups. Prior coming to Duke, Lindsey supported the Tulane Nutrition program as a research assistant exploring the environmental impact of national dietary recommendations and through programmatic support of the Tulane Nutrition Leadership Training program.
In previous roles, Lindsey developed evaluation tools and metrics to support a city-wide community collaborative seeking to improve health equity in New Orleans. She also served in the Peace Corps in Botswana, and was Operations Manager for a non-profit in rural western North Carolina proving fresh healthy food, nutrition literacy, and health & wellness resources. Lindsey holds a Master of Public Health in Nutrition from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion from Appalachian State University.
Program AssistantRead bio
Vivien Needham serves as the Program Assistant for the Healthy Eating Research program and is based at the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University. In this role, Vivien provides administrative and operational support to the program. Vivien joined the Duke Global Health Institute in September 2012 as a staff assistant to senior staff and faculty. She brings a wealth of administrative support experience in education, real estate, and non-profit industries. She is a native of Cape Town, South Africa and has lived in the U.S. since 2001. Vivien has a passion for community outreach and regularly prepares and distributes food and clothing to the homeless and destitute in Durham and surrounding areas.