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Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH

Mariana Chilton

Health Management and Policy, Center for Hunger-Free Communities
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AB, History and Literature: Latin America, Harvard University; MA, Folklore & Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania; MPH, Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma; PhD, Folklore & Folklife, University of Pennsylvania


Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, is a Professor at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. She is the Director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities and is Co-Principal investigator of Children's HealthWatch, a national research network that investigates the impact of public assistance programs on the health and well-being of young children and their caregivers. Dr. Chilton founded Witnesses to Hunger, a participatory action study to increase women's participation in the national dialogue on hunger and poverty. She is Principal Investigator of the Building Wealth and Heath Network, which is designed to incentivize entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Chilton received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma, and Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. She has testified before the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of child nutrition programs and other anti-poverty policies. She has served as an advisor to Sesame Street and to the Institute of Medicine. Her awards include the Nourish Award from MANNA, the Unsung Hero Award for Improving the Lives of Women and Girls from Women's Way and the Young Professional Award in Maternal and Child Health from the American Public Health Association. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, public radio and CBS National News.

Research Interests

  • Nutrition
  • Housing and health
  • Chronic diseases
  • Community health
  • Human rights
  • Hunger


Chilton, MM. Child hunger is a prescription for depression in late adolescence and early adulthood.  Evidence-based medicine 12/2013; DOI:10.1136/eb-2013-101565
Chilton, MM. Jenny Rabinowich, Amanda Breen, Sherita Mouzon.  When the systems fail: Individual and household coping strategies related to child hunger. Paper commission by the National Academies of Sciences Child Hunger Symposium.  4/2013.  DOI:
Meyers, A., Joyce, K., Coleman, S., Cook, J., Cutts, D., Ettinger De Cuba, S., Heeren, T., Rose-Jacobs, R., Black, M., Casey, P., Chilton, M., Sandel, M.,; Frank, D.  Health of Children Classified as Underweight by CDC Reference but Normal by WHO Standard.  Pediatrics. May 20, 2013; 10.1542/peds.2012-0001

Cook, J.T.,  Black, M. Chilton, M., Cutts, D., Ettinger de Cuba, S., Heeren, T. C., Rose-Jacobs, R.. Sandel, M., Casey, P. H., Coleman, S., Weiss, I., Frank, D. A. Are food insecurity's health impacts underestimated in the U.S. population? Marginal food security also predicts adverse health outcomes in young U.S. children and mothers. Advances in nutrition, 2013. 4(1): p. 51-61.

Chilton, M.M., J.R. Rabinowich, and N.H. Woolf, Very low food security in the USA is linked with exposure to violence. Public Health Nutrition, 2013: p. 1-10.