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Susan Michelle Gross, PhD

  • Associate Scientist

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E4543
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

410-614-5066

The Hopkins/USDA Participant Research Innovation Laboratory for Enhancing WIC Services (HPRIL)
Johns Hopkins WIC Program
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SCHOOL MEAL PARTICIPATION IN MARYLAND

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Education

PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 1996
MPH, San Diego State University, 1989
BS, University of California, Berkeley, 1987

Overview

Dr. Susan M. Gross is a specialist in maternal and child nutrition.  Dr. Gross received her B.S in Nutrition Sciences and Clinical Dietetics from University of California, Berkeley, California and her Master’s in Public Health from San Diego State University.  She earned her Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Maternal and Child Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene.  She completed an NIH Post-doctoral fellowship in disability research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. She has been a registered dietitian since 1987 and has been licensed in Maryland since June 2008.Most of Dr. Susan M. Gross’s career has been dedicated to research related to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Dr. Gross has been a part of the Evaluation of the Maryland WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program project and currently is evaluating the impact of hospital maternity care policies on breastfeeding practices among Maryland WIC participants. Dr. Gross was also instrumental in the creation of the Maryland “Right to Breastfeed” law in 2003. This law protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in public places. As Co-investigator of the Hopkins Participant Research Innovations Laboratory for Enhancing Customer Services for WIC Participants, a contract with the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS), she is investigating innovative strategies to improve child retention and participation in the WIC program. Her research focus also includes evaluating ways to improve in-school nutrition programs. Dr. Gross was part of a research effort to assess the impact of the implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision, providing free meals to students in the Baltimore City Public Schools and is pursuing a pilot study to prevent food insecurity among adolescents and young adults in Baltimore. She teaches with Dr. David Paige two courses Nutrition and Growth in Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Programs, Policy and Politics in the United States: The Impact on Maternal, Child and Family Health

Her research interests include: Maternal and Child Nutrition (specifically breastfeeding promotion and introduction of solid foods in the WIC program as well as childhood obesity and school-based initiatives to promote fruit and vegetable consumption).  Dr. Gross was also instrumental in the creation of the Maryland “Right to Breastfeed” law in 2003.  This law protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in public places.

Honors and Awards

Hunger Partner Award by the Maryland Food Access and Nutrition Network. Annapolis, MD 2019.

Awarded Published Research Award for 2018 by the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic Association, for Gross SM, Augustyn M, Henderson JL, Baig K, Williams CA, Ajao B, Bell-Waddy P, Paige DM. Integrating Obstetrical Care and WIC Nutritional Services to Address Maternal Obesity and Postpartum Weight Retention. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2018 Jun;22(6):794-802.

Awarded Published Article of Distinction for 2010 by the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association, for Gross SM, Resnik AK, Cross-Barnet C, Nanda JP, Augustyn M, Paige DM. The differential impact of WIC peer counseling programs on breastfeeding initiation across the state of Maryland. J Hum Lact. 2009 Nov; 25(4):435-43. Awarded June, 2010

Member, Delta Omega Society, Alpha Chapter, Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Inducted May, 1996

  • Nutrition, young child nutrition
  • postpartum weight retention
  • children with special health care needs
  • eating disorders
  • school-aged children
  • breastfeeding
  • obesity
  • body image
  • Special Supplementary Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • food insecurity

I have listed selected publications from the last 10 years.

  • Gross, S.M., Resnik, A.K., Nanda, J.P., Cross-Barnet, C., Augustyn, M., Kelly, L., and Paige, D.M. (2011). Early postpartum: a critical period in setting the path for breastfeeding success. Breastfeed Medicine, 6, 407-12.
  • Gross, S.M., Kelley, T.L., Augustyn, M., Wilson, M.J., Bassarab, K., and Palmer, A. (2019). Household food security status of families with children attending schools that participate in the community eligibility provision (CEP) and those with children attending schools that are CEP-eligible, but not participating. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. 2019 October; doi: 10.1080/19320248.2019.1679318.
  • Gregory, E.F., Gross, S.M., Nguyen, T.Q., Butz, A.M., and Johnson, S.B. (2016). WIC Participation and Breastfeeding at 3 Months Postpartum. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 20, 1735-44.
  • Gross SM, Augustyn M, Henderson JL, Baig K, Williams CA, Ajao B, Bell-Waddy P, and Paige DM. (2018). Integrating Obstetrical Care and WIC Nutritional Services to Address Maternal Obesity and Postpartum Weight Retention. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22(6), 794-802.
  • Gross, S.M., Biehl, E., Marshall, B., Paige, D.M. and Mmari, K.N. (2018). Role of the elementary school cafeteria environment in fruit, vegetable, and whole grain consumption by 6-8 year-old students.J Nutr Educ Behav. 2018 Aug 24. pii:S1499-4046(18)30665-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2018.07.002. [Epub ahead of print]