Elaine A. Borawski, PhD

Angela Bowen Williamson Professor of Community Nutrition
Department of Nutrition
Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods
School of Medicine
Vice Chair for Applied Research
Department of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Faculty Lead
Community and Collaboration Component
Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative
School of Medicine
Population and Cancer Prevention Program
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Elaine A. Borawski is a medical sociologist interested in the social and environmental influences of health and health behavior and the development and testing of new intervention strategies that draw from the strengths of the environments and the people who live within them.  Throughout her career Dr. Borawski has worked closely with local stakeholders on a wide range of issues, including childhood obesity, healthy food access, HIV and pregnancy prevention, and tobacco prevention and control, securing more than $30M in local, state, and federal funding for her research as PI or Co-PI.

Within the Department of Nutrition, Dr. Borawski serves as the Vice Chair for Applied Research, a new position that aims to increase the portfolio and visibility of community and public health nutrition research within the department and across the School of Medicine.

She has served as the founding director of two community-based research centers: Center for Health Promotion Research (2000-2009), which then was merged into the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN)(2009-2020).  The PRCHN is a locally, regionally and nationally recognized community-based and community engaged research center committed to addressing health disparities in Greater Cleveland, focused on underserved and under-resourced urban neighborhoods. While she stepped down as director in 2020, she continues to conduct most of her community-based research in affiliation with the PRCHN (www.prchn.org)

She currently serves as the Faculty Lead for the Community and Collaboration Component for Cleveland’s Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC).  In this role, she and her team are developing models and methods for ensuring integration of community and stakeholder engagement as part of the CTSC’s promotion of interdisciplinary team development and team science across the university and health care system partners.  They also work closely with a number of large community-based collaboratives that involve both academic and community partners focused on addressing a specific population-health issues (i.e., access to care, infant mortality, tobacco cessation), with the goal of establishing and disseminating best practices.

Teaching Information

Courses Taught

Integrated Thinking in Population and Quantitative Health
Introduction to Population Health

Research Information

Research Interests

Community-based, health behavior interventions (obesity and diet modification, physical activity, tobacco prevention, HIV/pregnancy prevention); survey methodology; population health measurement and surveillance; outcome-based community evaluations; community-based participatory research.

View PRCHN website

Awards and Honors

American Academy of Health Behavior

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Health Behavior, President, Board Member
Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science
International Network for the Science of Team Science

External Appointments

Angela Bowen Williamson Professor of Community Nutrition
Founding Director
Center for Health Promotion Research


View All Publications

  1. Freedman, DA, Bell, BA, Clark, J, Ngendahimana, D, Borawski, E, Trapl, E, Pike, S, Sehgal, AR. Small Improvements in an Urban Food Environment Resulted in No Changes in Diet Among Residents. J Community Health 2020; : . PubMed PMID:32170531.
  2. Tigges, BB, Miller, D, Dudding, KM, Balls-Berry, JE, Borawski, EA, Dave, G, Hafer, NS, Kimminau, KS, Kost, RG, Littlefield, K, Shannon, J, Menon, U, Measures of Collaboration Workgroup of the Collaboration and Engagement Domain Task Force, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health. Measuring quality and outcomes of research collaborations: An integrative review. J Clin Transl Sci 2019; 3 (5): 261-289. PubMed PMID:31660251 PubMed Central PMC6813516.
  3. Moore, SM, Borawski, EA, Love, TE, Jones, SD, McAleer S, Casey, T, Hardin HK, Long, M, Nevar, A, Plow, M, Thomas, C, Stevens, J, Truesdale, KP, Pratt, C, Uli, N, Trapl, E. Two Family Interventions to Reduce BMI in Low-Income Urban Youth: A Randomized Trial Youth.  Pediatrics Jun 2019, 143 (6) e20182185; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2018-2185.
  4. Monteban, MF, Bess, KD, Walsh, CC, Baily, H, Flocke, SA, Borawski, EA, Freedman, DA. People and places shaping food procurement among recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Health Place 2018; 53 : 155-163. PubMed PMID:30142499.
  5. Borawski, EA, Jones, SD, Yoder, LD, Taylor, T, Clint, BA, Goodwin, MA, Trapl, ES. We Run This City: Impact of a Community-School Fitness Program on Obesity, Health, and Fitness. Prev Chronic Dis 2018; 15 : E52. PubMed PMID:29729132 PubMed Central PMC5951154.
  6. Freedman, DA, Lee, E, Ohri-Vachaspati, P, Trapl, E, Borawski, E, Bess, K, Flocke, S. Predictors of Farmers' Market Shopping among People Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits.Am J Community Psychol 2018; : . PubMed PMID:29659024 .
  7. Trapl, ES, Pike, SN, Borawski, E, Flocke, SA, Freedman, DA, Walsh, CC, Schneider, C, Yoder, L. Food Melt in Consumer Food Environments in Low-income Urban Neighborhoods. Am J Health Behav 2017; 41 (6): 710-718. PubMed PMID:29025499.
  8. Pike, SN, Trapl, ES, Clark, JK, Rouse, CD, Bell, BA, Sehgal, AR, To, T, Borawski, E, Freedman, DA. Examining the Food Retail Choice Context in Urban Food Deserts, Ohio, 2015. Prev Chronic Dis 2017; 14 : E90. PubMed PMID:28981402 PubMed Central PMC5645198.
  9. Flocke, SA, Ohri-Vachispati, P, Shon, EJ, Trapl, ES, Borawski, E, Matlack, K, Freedman, DA. Developing multidimensional measures of healthy food access among low-income adults in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Public Health Nutr 2017; 20 (16): 2859-2868. PubMed PMID:28847323 .
  10. Goodwin, MA, Stange, KC, Zyzanski, SJ, Crabtree, BF, Borawski, EA, Flocke, SA. The Hawthorne effect in direct observation research with physicians and patients. J Eval Clin Pract 2017; 23 (6): 1322-1328. PubMed PMID:28752911 PubMed Central PMC5741487.
  11. Moore, SM, Komton, V, Adegbite-Adeniyi, C, Dolansky, MA, Hardin, HK, Borawski, EA. Development of the Systems Thinking Scale for Adolescent Behavior Change.West J Nurs Res 2018; 40 (3): 375-387. PubMed PMID:28303755 PubMed Central PMC5581293.
  12. Freedman, DA, Flocke, S, Shon, EJ, Matlack, K, Trapl, E, Ohri-Vachaspati, P, Osborne, A, Borawski, E. Farmers' Market Use Patterns Among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipients With High Access to Farmers' Markets. J Nutr Educ Behav 2017; 49 (5): 397-404.e1. PubMed PMID:28274790 .
  13. Moore, SM, Killion, CM, Andrisin, S, Lissemore, F, Primm, T, Olayinka, O, Borawski, EA. Use of Appreciative Inquiry To Engage Parents as Codesigners of a Weight Management Intervention for Adolescents. Child Obes 2017; 13 (3): 182-189. PubMed PMID:28187267 PubMed Central PMC5444421.
  14. Trapl, ES, Yoder, LD, Frank, JL, Borawski, EA, Sattar, A. Individual, Parental, and Environmental Correlates of Cigar, Cigarillo, and Little Cigar Use Among Middle School Adolescents. Nicotine Tob. Res. 2016; 18 (5): 834-41. PubMed PMID:26385927 .

Publishing impact

Metrics from Web of Science/publons and Scopus/SciVal:

  • H-index: 32
  • Total publications: 74
  • Total citations: 5,461
  • Publications in top-tier journals: 30%
  • Collaborative publishing national/international: 91%/9%

Editorial roles/review editor for:   

  • Annals of Behavioral Medicine
  • American Journal of Public Health
  • American Journal of Health Behavior 
  • American Journal of School Health
  • American Journal of Preventive Medicine
  • Journal of Adolescent Health 
  • Journal of Primary Prevention, Health Education and Behavior


Postdoctoral Training
Public Health/Gerontology
University of Michigan
Case Western Reserve University
M.A., Sociology
Case Western Reserve University
University of South Florida

Additional Information

Contributions to science:

  • Interventions that influence health behavior change
  • Epidemiologic studies related to public health

Active grants:

  • CDC:  2nd cycle of funding for the PRCHN, member of the CDC national network of PRCs
  • NIH/NCATS:  Dr. Borawski is the Lead of the Community and Collaboration component of the Cleveland Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative, leading a team of five faculty and three staff members  
  • NRSA/Fellowship in Primary Care Research:  Dr. Borawski is a trainer for this postdoctoral training program, with a particular focus on community-clinical linkages 

Student and mentee totals, over Case Western Reserve University career:

  • Master’s: 50
  • PhD: 15
  • Post-doc:  6
  • A sampling of Case Western Reserve University PhD graduates and postdoctoral fellows’ current careers:
    • University of Michigan, Associate Professor 
    • Wyle Integrated Science & Engineering Group (NASA contractor), senior epidemiologist 
    • Case Western Reserve University, associate professor 
    • King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, professor and department chair