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Ashley B. Gripper, PhD, MPH

Ashley Gripper headshot

Assistant Professor
Community Health & Prevention and The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity
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PhD, Population Health Sciences, Concentration Environmental Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
MPH, Epidemiology, Columbia University
BA, Sociology, Arcadia University


Dr. Ashley Gripper is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention and an affiliate of The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity. She has a secondary appointment in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.

Gripper’s academic work, activism, and advocacy all focus on Black people’s connections to Earth and reclamation of land-based living and organizing practices. She has been active in food and land justice movements for a decade and as a result, has built strong relationships with urban and rural growers around the country.

Her work uniquely marries her scholarship to grassroots, antiracist social justice initiatives by taking a somewhat uncommon approach to community engaged research. She demonstrates her commitment to racial equity, justice, and liberation by being deeply embedded in Black and brown food and land-based social movements, and by leading with care of these communities. This is illustrated in her work as a project team member, data analyst, and community engagement specialist for the Philadelphia Urban Agriculture Comprehensive Plan and as a member of Soil Generation, a Black & Brown coalition of women and non-binary farmers and organizers working to ensure community control of land and food. Ashley also serves as co-chair of the Membership and Governance working group for the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council to the Mayor’s Office.

She completed her PhD in the Population Health Sciences program and Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar.

Research Interests

  • Community-Engaged Research
  • Environmental Health
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Climate justice
  • Food Justice
  • Spirituality
  • Land Access
  • Collective Agency & Community Power


Gripper A, Nethery R, Cowger TL, White MM, Kawachi I, Adamkiewicz G. (2022). Community solutions to food apartheid: A spatial analysis of community food-growing spaces and neighborhood demographics in Philadelphia. Social Science & Medicine. doi: 115221. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115221.

Butler, Brittney & Gripper, Ashley & Linos, Natalia. (2022). Built and Social Environments, Environmental Justice, and Maternal Pregnancy Complications. Current Obstetrics and Gynecology Reports. 11. 10.1007/s13669-022-00339-2.

Szmulewicz, A., Wanis, K. N., Gripper, A., Angriman, F., Hawel, J., Elnahas, A., ... & Schlachta, C. M. (2019). Mental health quality of life after bariatric surgery: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized clinical trials. Clinical Obesity, 9(1), e12290.