Joel Gittelsohn
Joel Gittelsohn

Joel Gittelsohn, PhD

  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

  • International Health (Primary)
    • Division: Human Nutrition
  • Health, Behavior and Society (Joint)

Center & Institute Affiliations

  • Center for Human Nutrition

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room W2041
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

P:  410-955-3927
F:  410-955-0196


PhD, University of Connecticut - Storrs, 1989
MS, University of Connecticut - Storrs, 1986


Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, MSc, Professor, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, is a medical anthropologist who specializes in the use of qualitative and quantitative information to design, implement and evaluate health and nutrition intervention programs. Dr. Gittelsohn integrates qualitative and quantitative approaches to better understand culture-based beliefs and behaviors regarding dietary patterns, and how these factors influence the success or failure of dietary and lifestyle modification strategies. He applies these methods and interventions for the prevention of obesity and diabetes among different indigenous and ethnic groups, to nutrient deficiencies of Nepalese children and women, and to improve infant feeding in diverse settings (The Gambia; Hartford, CT; Peru). He is currently working on chronic disease interventions among the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache (obesity prevention), the Ojibwa-Cree (diabetes prevention), African American church-going women (cardiovascular disease prevention) and children and adults in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (obesity and undernutrition prevention).

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Honors and honors

2012 Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Award, bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

2005 Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Award, bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

2002 Best Paper of the Year, 2001-2002, Health Education and Behavior, for Cortes, LM, Gittelsohn, J, Alfred J, and Palafox, N (2001) “Formative Research to Inform Intervention Development for Diabetes Prevention in the Republic of the Marshall Islands,” Health Education and Behavior  28(6):696-715.

1993 The Johns Hopkins University Teaching Quality Award

1991 The Johns Hopkins University Golden Apple Teaching Award

Research Interests

  • International Health, Nutritional anthropology
  • culture
  • behavior
  • dietary patterns
  • nutrition intervention
  • obesity prevention
  • diabetes prevention
  • environmental interventions
  • food store programs


Publications listed are representative of my work in improving the food environment in low income urban and rural communities.

  • Go directly to Dr. Gittelsohn's publications at PubMed.
  • CF Ruggiero, L Poirier, A C B Trude, T Yang, T Schwendler, B Gunen, I H Loh, K Perepezko, C S Nam, P Sato, J Gittelsohn; Implementation of B’More Healthy Communities for Kids: process evaluation of a multi-level, multi-component obesity prevention intervention, Health Education Research, cyy031,
  • Gittelsohn J, Trude A, Poirier L, Ross A, Ruggiero C, Schwendler T, Anderson Steeves E. (2017) "The Impact of a Multi-Level Multi-Component Childhood Obesity Prevention Trial on Healthy Food Availability, Sales, and Purchasing in a Low-Income Urban Area," International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2017 Nov 10;14(11). pii: E1371. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14111371. PMID: 29125558
  • Gittelsohn J, Jock B, Redmond L, Fleischhacker S, Eckmann T, Bleich SN, Loh H, Ogburn E, Gadhoke P, Swartz J, Pardilla M, Caballero B. (2017) “OPREVENT2: Design of multi-institutional intervention for obesity control and prevention for American Indian adults,” BMC Public Health, 17 (1): 105. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4018-0.
  • Gittelsohn J, Song H-J, Suratkar S, Kumar M, Henry EG, Sharma S, Mattingly M, Anliker J, (2009) “An urban food store intervention positively impacts food-related psychosocial variables and food behaviors,” Health Education and Behavior, Nov 3. [Epub ahead of print].