Darcy Freedman, PhD, MPH

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health
School of Medicine
Mary Ann Swetland Professor and Chair
Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
School of Medicine
Core Faculty
Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods
School of Medicine
Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
School of Medicine
Cancer Prevention Control & Population Research Program
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Secondary Faculty
Division of General Medical Sciences
Center for Community Health Integration
School of Medicine
Secondary Faculty
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Darcy Freedman is an applied population health scientist and community psychologist. Her research develops, tests, and disseminates policy and systems-level interventions to promote health equity by addressing the complex interplay between public health and the environment. Dr. Freedman brings a transdisciplinary background to her community-engaged research agenda. She completed a BA in Zoology at Miami University, MPH in Behavioral Sciences at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and Ph.D. in Community Psychology/Community Research and Action and Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Freedman was recruited to Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine in 2013 to advance community nutrition and food environment intervention research in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, where she served as Associate Director from 2014-18. Since joining CWRU, she has successfully grown a robust research program focused on the intersection of health equity and community nutrition securing funding from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research among others. She also contributes as a team scientist to university-wide initiatives such as the Cleveland Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative, CWRU Center for Reducing Health Disparities, and CWRU Food Institute.

She is nationally recognized for her scientific contributions to community nutrition. Her technology, FM Tracks, is now the gold standard method used nationally to evaluate healthy food incentive programming. She regularly advises and testifies to inform federal, state, and local nutrition policy. Dr. Freedman was awarded the Sarah Samuels Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advocacy, Policy, and Evaluation for Public Health Nutrition by the American Public Health Association. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.

Teaching and mentoring are another area of focus for Dr. Freedman She serves as a Core Faculty for the PhD program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Additionally, she supports university-wide training programs such as the Young African Leaders Initiative and the Case Medical Student Summer Research Program.

Dr. Freedman lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio with her husband, Heath, and two sons, Miles and Tate.

Research Information

Research Interests

  • Food Access Interventions (e.g., farmers’ markets, community gardens, food policy)
  • Community-engagement and Civic Participation
  • Public Health Literacy
  • Primary Prevention of Chronic Disease (e.g., Obesity, diabetes, cancer)
  • Nutrition and Food Security

Research Goal

  • Reduce chronic disease trends and inequities through efforts to promote healthy community environments.



Recent Publications

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; 61 (3-4): 488-499. PubMed PMID:29659024 .

Bush, WS, Crawford, DC, Briggs, F, Freedman, D, Sloan, C. Integrating Community-Level Data Resources For Precision Medicine Research. Pac Symp Biocomput 2018; 23 : 618-622. PubMed PMID:29218920 .

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 .

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.

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.

Lee, E, Dalton, J, Ngendahimana, D, Bebo, P, Davis, A, Remley, D, Smathers, C, Freedman, DA. Consensus modeling to develop the farmers' market readiness assessment and decision instrument. Transl Behav Med 2017; 7 (3): 506-516. PubMed PMID:28730383 PubMed Central PMC5645287.

Beets, MW, Weaver, RG, Turner-McGrievy, G, Huberty, J, Moore, JB, Ward, DS, Freedman, DA, Beighle, A. Two-Year Healthy Eating Outcomes: An RCT in Afterschool Programs. Am J Prev Med 2017; 53 (3): 316-326. PubMed PMID:28532659 PubMed Central PMC5562516.

Sullivan, CM, Pencak, JA, Freedman, DA, Huml, AM, León, JB, Nemcek, J, Theurer, J, Sehgal, AR. Comparison of the Availability and Cost of Foods Compatible With a Renal Diet Versus an Unrestricted Diet Using the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey. J Ren Nutr 2017; 27 (3): 183-186. PubMed PMID:28283254 PubMed Central PMC5392449.

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 .

Freedman, DA, Hunt, AR, Merritt, K, Shon, EJ, Pike, SN. Dissemination of Technology to Evaluate Healthy Food Incentive Programs. Am J Prev Med 2017; 52 (3S3): S309-S314. PubMed PMID:28215387 .


Doctor of Philosophy
Community Research and Action
Vanderbilt University
Graduate Certificate
Women’s and Gender Studies
Vanderbilt University
Master of Public Health
Behavioral Sciences
Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health
Bachelor of Arts
Miami University