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Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD

Community Nutrition and Health Promotion


My research focuses on developing community-based nutrition and wellness interventions to prevent and manage chronic disease and improve family caregiver health, with a focus on understudied populations and cancer survivorship. While I have a broad background in obesity prevention and management, my current research explores the ways in which nutrition, wellness and healing behaviors promote healthy disease survivorship and caregiver health. My research also focuses on designing better nutrition programs by improving our understanding of how people’s interactions with their environment affect their nutrition-related behaviors.

I use a variety of assessment techniques and collaborate across disciplines so that I can most effectively study the relationship between nutrition, wellness and healthy disease survivorship. In particular, I:

  • Apply a community-based participatory approach to inform the development of supportive health intervention programs;
  • Employ quantitative and qualitative methods to answer key research questions;
  • Emphasize dietary quality and dietary diversity; and
  • Engage family caregivers, because they are an important component of healthy survivorship, and because family members themselves are a high-risk population.

Principal Investigator

Brandy-Joe Milliron Headshot
Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD
Associate Professor - Nutrition Sciences
View Faculty Profile



Doctoral Students

  • Dahlia Stott


  • Cynthia Klobodu, PhD
  • Dan Dychtwald, PhD, MPH
  • Katherine Petroka, MS
  • Marissa Wagner, MS

Internal Collaborators

  • Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, Department of Food and Hospitality Management and Drexel Food Lab
  • Ann C. Klassen, PhD, Community Health and Prevention, Dornsife School of Public Health
  • Dane Ward, PhD, Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Meera Harhay, MD, College of Medicine
  • Meghan Butryn, PhD, Psychological and Brain Sciences and the WELL Center, College of Arts and Sciences

External Collaborators

  • Lora Packel, PhD, PT, Physical Therapy, St Joseph’s University
  • Tracey Jubelier, MD, Hematology and Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Veda Giri, MD, Medical Oncology, Cancer Biology, and Urology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Vetri Community Partnership, Philadelphia, PA
  • Greener Partners, Philadelphia, PA
  • Linda Kilby, PhD, N.O.R.T.H. Inc, WIC, Philadelphia, PA
  • Mara Vitolins, DrPH, RD, Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
  • Janet Tooze, PhD, Biostatistics and Data Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine


Optimizing Healthful Nutrition of Cancer Caregivers and Survivors
The purpose of this study was to identify and explore nutrition-related beliefs, behaviors, and challenges to maintaining a healthy diet among people receiving treatment for gastrointestinal cancer and their family caregivers. In a sequential mixed methods design, we assessed caregivers' perceptions of competency in providing care for their loved ones, conducted in-depth interviews to elucidate supportive care needs, and conducted dietary assessments to identify drivers of high quality diets of both patients and caregivers. This research took place at Jefferson Health Asplundh Cancer Pavilion in Abington, PA.

Funded by the Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Transdisciplinary Integrated Population Science (TIPS) grants program.

Physical Activity and Nutrition Needs of Cancer Patients and Caregivers
The purpose of this research was to characterize nutrition-related beliefs, experiences, behaviors and nutrition-related treatment side effects among individuals with cancer and their caregivers, and to identify preferences, barriers, and facilitators of engagement in lifestyle modification strategies. Using a convergent mixed methods study design, study activities include structured data collection and in-depth interviews. This research included a collaboration with University of the Sciences and the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge in Cheltenham, PA.

Funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Nutrition and physical activity assessment among men undergoing genetic counseling for inherited prostate cancer: exploring a teachable moment
In collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University's Department of Medical Oncology, this research investigated whether men diagnosed with prostate cancer and men at high risk for prostate cancer who have undergone genetic counseling and testing in the Genetic Evaluation of Men study (PI: Veda Giri, MD), were meeting dietary and physical activity recommendations.

Exploring the feasibility of incorporating nutrition-related lifestyle guidance into fertility counseling and treatment for female cancer survivors
The purpose of this research is to explore the feasibility of augmenting fertility counseling and treatment with nutrition-related lifestyle guidance for female cancer survivors. The specific objectives are to: assess nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, practices and beliefs about fertility; characterize the barriers and challenges to improving nutrition-related behaviors; and assess the interest in, and preferences for nutrition-related lifestyle guidance during fertility counseling and treatment. Data collection include a structured survey, dietary assessment, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions.

Funded by American Society for Nutrition and Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions.


Nature Rx: Exploring the Relationship among Nature Relatedness, Nature-Based Experiences, and Dietary Quality
The purpose of this pilot study is to examine the relationship among nature-based experiences, nature relatedness, and dietary quality (using the Healthy Eating Index-2015). This work may impact public health and health promotion practices in two ways: 1) nature-based interventions may increase nature-based experiences and NR across the lifespan and potentially improve dietary quality; and 2) augmenting dietary interventions with nature-based activities may lead to greater improvements in dietary quality.

Funded by Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Openspace RX: Improving our city's open spaces through community engagement
Physical, emotional, cognitive and social benefits are directly associated with the amount of time people spend in nature. However, the relationship between spending time in nature and dietary quality and diversity remains to be explored. In collaboration with the Drexel Watershed Consortium and Drexel’s College of Engineering, we explored the relationships between Nature Relatedness and dietary diversity and fruit and vegetable intake.

Funded by the William Penn Foundation.

Heart healthy cooking lab: youth exploring wellness through cooking and gardening
The purpose of this research was to test the effect of augmenting a culinary skills program (Vetri Cooking Lab) with garden-based education (Greener Partners’ Farm Explorer) using a quasi-experimental matched-controlled trial design. The intervention program focuses on strengthening children's understanding of the connection between healthful eating, growing, cooking and wellness and epitomizes community partnership in research. We measured the effect of the program on nutrition-related knowledge, outcome expectations, and cooking self-efficacy, important precursors to long-term behavior change. This project was a collaboration between Drexel, Vetri Community Partnership, and Greener Partners, and illustrates the wide-ranging utility of gardens in health education.

Funded by Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions.


Formative research on infant and young child feeding and maternal nutrition in Tajikistan
UNICEF Tajikistan partnered with the Tajikistan Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP) and Drexel University (PI Ann Klassen, PhD, Dornsife School of Public Health), to conduct formative research to explore socio-cultural, economic, gender, and contextual determinants of infant and young child feeding and maternal nutrition practices in Tajikistan. This work also provided us with an opportunity for innovation in instrument development, leading to the creation of a tool that can be used in the systematic evaluation of the food environment in bazaars. This study was led by Dr. Ann Klassen; Dr. Milliron was a Co-investigator.

Funded by UNICEF Tajikistan.

Immunization and Factors Influencing Vaccine Hesitancy in Tajikistan
The purpose of this research was to identify and explore knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, expectation; experiences and practices related to immunization among parents of children age 0-6 and health professionals in Tajikistan. This research was a collaboration among UNICEF Tajikistan, the Tajikistan Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP) and Drexel University (PI Ann Klassen, PhD, Dornsife School of Public Health). This study was led by Dr. Ann Klassen; Dr. Milliron was a Co-investigator.

Funded by UNICEF Tajikistan.


Identifying Healthy and High-Risk Weight Loss Phenotypes to Optimize Obesity Management in End Stage Kidney Disease
The purpose of this study is to identify healthy and high-risk obesity weight loss phenotypes in individuals with end stage kidney disease. This study is led by Dr. Meera Harhay; Dr. Milliron is a Co-investigator.

Funded by NIH/NIDDK.

Ice Cream Therapy: Functional Ice Cream Alternative to Oral Nutrition Supplements
The purpose of this study is to develop and test a functional frozen desert alternative to oral nutrition supplements in older adults. This study is led by Dr. Jonathan Deutsch; Dr. Milliron is a Co-investigator.

Funded by Drexel University Coulter Translational Research.

Reduced Sodium R & D and Industry Feedback
The purpose of this project was to increase accessibility and availability of lower sodium products for City of Philadelphia agencies, contracted vendors, and the restaurant and foodservice communities. This study was led by Dr. Jonathan Deutsch; Dr. Milliron was a Co-investigator.

Funded by the City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Health. Get Healthy Philly/Division of Chronic Disease Prevention.

Nutrition-Related Beliefs, Behaviors and Needs of Women with Perinatal Depression
The purpose of this study was to identify nutrition-related beliefs, behaviors and challenges for women with perinatal depression, and to elucidate the role that feeding plays in facilitating mother-infant interaction.

Funded by Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, Dean’s Rapid Response Relevant (R3) Grant.

Links for Publications

National Library of Medicine


Packel L, Dychtwald DK, Pontiggia L, Deutsch J, Milliron BJ. Physical activity and nutrition-related beliefs, behaviors, and challenges in individuals living with cancer and their caregivers. Rehabilitation Oncology. In press.

Milliron BJ, Ward D, Granche J, Stott D, Mensinger J, Chenault MC, Montalto F, Ellis EV. Nature relatedness is associated with higher dietary diversity and fruit and vegetable intake. American Journal of Health Promotion. April 5, 2022.

Milliron BJ, Klobodu C, Dychtwald D, Packel L, Pontiggia L, Deutsch J. When eating becomes torturous: Understanding nutrition-related cancer treatment side effects among individuals with cancer and their caregivers. Nutrients. 2022;14(2):356.

Milliron BJ, Zegans M, Deutsch J. Creating a more powerful framework for healthcare promotion, research, and teaching: An Eco-biopsychosocial Model. Acta Horticulturae. 2021;1330.

Naseeb M, Bruneau M, Milliron BJ, Sukumar D, Foster G, Smith S, Volpe S. Changes in Dietary Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Middle School Students: Using Data from the HEALTHY Study. Journal of Nutrition. 2021;151(11):3442-3449.

Dychtwald DK, Kaimal G, Kilby L, Klobodu C, Milliron BJ. “When a Father Feels Excluded”: A qualitative study exploring the role of fathers in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Wellbeing. 2021;16(1):1932026.

Riordan M, Milliron BJ, Sherman R, Aqualante J, Deutsch J. “No Need to Get Salty” Or is There? Sodium functionality as a consideration in nutrition public health policy. Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences. February 22, 2021;12(2).

Klassen AC, Milliron BJ, Reynolds L, Bakhtibekova Z, Mamadraimov S, Bahruddinov M, Shokamolova S, Shuster M, Mukhtar S, Gafurova , Iskandari M, Majidian R, Job-Johnson B. Formative research to address vaccine hesitancy in Tajikistan. Vaccine. January, 2021.

Klobodu C, Milliron BJ, Agyabeng K, Akweongo P, Adomah-Afari A. Assessment of maternal birth preparedness towards delivery in the greater Accra Region: A cross-sectional study of two health facilities in the Accra Metropolis. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2020;20(1).

Bruneau M, Milliron BJ, Sinclair E, Obeid E, Gross L, Bealin L, Smaltz C, Butryn M, Giri VN. Physical activity among men undergoing genetic counseling for inherited prostate cancer: Exploring a teachable moment. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2020; ep 2.

Suresh A, Robinson L, Milliron BJ, Leonberg K, McAdams-DeMarco M, Earthman C, Klassen A, Harhay M. Approaches to obesity management in dialysis settings: Renal dietitian perspectives. J Renal Nutrition. 2020;30(6):561-566.

Milliron BJ, Bruneau M, Obeid E, Smaltz C, Giri VN. Nutrition assessment among men undergoing genetic counseling for inherited prostate cancer: Exploring a teachable moment. The Prostate. 2019;79(7):778-783.

Klassen A, Milliron BJ, Suehiro Y, Abdulloeva S, Leonburg B, Grossman S, Chenault MC, Bossert L, Maqsood J, Abduzhalilov R, Iskandari M. “Then you raise them with shirchoy or cookies”: Understanding influences on delayed dietary diversity among children in Tajikistan. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2019;15(2):e12694.

Paek MS, Nightingale C, Tooze JA, Milliron BJ, Weaver K, Sterba K. Contextual and stress process factors associated with head and neck cancer caregivers’ physical and psychological well-being. European Journal of Cancer Care. 2018;27(2). [EPub 2018 Feb 20].

Petroka K, Campbell-Bussiere R, Dychtwald DK, Milliron BJ. Barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and disease self-management among older adults residing in subsidized housing. Journal of Nutrition and Health. 2017;23(3):167-175.

Milliron BJ, Vitolins M, Gamble E, Jones R, Chenault MC, Tooze J. Process evaluation of a community garden at an urban outpatient clinic. Journal of Community Health. 2017;42(4):639-648. Volpe SL, Sukumar D, Milliron BJ. Obesity prevention in older adults. Current Obesity Reports. 2016;5(2):166-75.

Nightingale C, Sterba K, Tooze J, Milliron BJ, Tetrick L, Paek MS, Weaver K. Vulnerable characteristics and interest in wellness programs among head and neck cancer caregivers. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2016;24(8):3437-45.

Thomas L, Milliron BJ, Heller J, Woolf K. Lifestyle behaviors affecting bone health in young Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women. Topics in Clinical Nutrition. 2016; 31(1). 24-35.

Vitolins M, Milliron BJ, Hopkins J, Fulmer A, Case D. Use of a meal replacement weight loss intervention in survivors of ER/PR-negative breast cancer. Clinical Medical Insights: Women’s Health. 2014; 16(7):17-24.

Koohkan S, Schaffner D, Milliron BJ, Frey I, Konig D, Deibert P, Vitolins M, Berg A. Impact of a weight reduction program on health related quality of life (HRQOL) in middle-aged obese females. BMC Womens Health. 2014; 14(1): 45.

Milliron BJ, Vitolins M, Tooze J. Usual dietary intake among female breast cancer survivors compared to women with no cancer history: findings from NHANES (2003-2006). Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014; 114(6): 932-937.

Miller S, Milliron BJ, Woolf K. Common prediction equations overestimate measured resting metabolic rate in young Hispanic women. Topics in Clinical Nutrition. 2013; 28(2): 120-135.

Milliron BJ, Woolf K, Appelhans B. A point-of-purchase intervention featuring in-person supermarket education impacts healthy food purchases. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2013; 44(3):225-32.

Appelhans B, Milliron BJ, Woolf K, Johnson T, Pagoto S, Schneider K, Whited M, Ventrelle J. Socioeconomic status, energy cost, and the nutrient content of supermarket food purchases. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2012; 42(4), 398-402.

Milliron BJ, Woolf K, Ruhs B, Appelhans BA. Academics in the Aisles: Establishing a University-Supermarket Partnership for Healthy Shopping. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement. 2012; 5:183-91.

Grimstvedt M, Woolf K, Milliron BJ, Manore M. Lower Healthy Eating Index-2005 dietary quality scores in older women with rheumatoid arthritis v. healthy controls. Journal of Public Health Nutrition. 2010;13(8), 1170-7.

Invited Articles

Qamar Z, Camel S, Milliron BJ. Coping with the stresses of academia amidst a pandemic. The Educator’s Resource. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Spring 2020.

Zuercher J, Williams P, Milliron BJ. Connecting dietetics through interprofessional education. The Educator’s Resource. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Winter 2019.

Burt K, Milliron BJ. Navigating successful mentor-mentee relationships. The Educator’s Resource. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Spring 2019.

Spielmaker A, Patton-Lopez M, Qamar Z, Koenings M, Milliron BJ, Burgermaster M. Online Options: Recommendations for Educators. The Educator’s Resource. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fall 2018. Volume 74, Issue 3.

Milliron BJ, Burt KG, Koenings M, Burgermaster M. Scholarship on teaching and learning: Making explicit the practice of research communication to our students. The Educator’s Resource. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Summer 2018. Volume 74, Issue 2.

Burgermaster M, Koenings M, Milliron BJ. Improving student self-awareness and meta-cognition in higher educations. The Educator’s Resource. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Spring 2018. Volume 74, Issue 1.

O’Donnell T, Deutsch J, Pepino R, Milliron BJ, Yungmann C, Katz S. Food was never meant to be wasted. Part II. Biocycle. December 2015.

O’Donnell T, Deutsch J, Pepino R, Milliron BJ, Yungmann C, Katz S. Food was never meant to be wasted. Part I. Biocycle. October 2015.

Book Chapters

Deutsch J, Fulton B, Zeitz A, Milliron BJ, Bartoli C. Implementing Philadelphia's Nutrition Standards: Using Partnerships to Reformulate Recipes and Food Products Cost-Effectively. Chapter in Institutions as Conscious Food Consumers: Leveraging Purchasing Power to Drive Systems Change. Thottathil SE. and Goger AM (eds). Elsevier, 2018.

Milliron BJ, Chenault MC, Dychtwald D. Intervening to change the public’s eating behavior. Chapter in Nutrition in Public Health. Edelstein S (ed). Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2018.

Milliron BJ, Woolf K. Lower dietary quality among women who watch more television: findings in support of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Chapter in Advances in Medicine and Biology. Berhardt LV (ed). Nova Science Publishers, Volume 34, 2011.

Milliron BJ, Woolf K, Appelhans B. Dietary intake during screen time among premenopausal women. Chapter in Sedentary Behaviors: Physiology, health risks, and interventions. Bergin MG (ed). Nova Science Publishers, 2011.

Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD

Three Parkway Building
Third Floor, Room 383
1601 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102