Photo of Dr. Zenk in her office.
Dr. Shannon Zenk is the recipient of the 2016 UIC Rising Star Award. This award is given to only 5 UIC early career researchers/scholars who have demonstrated outstanding promise to become future leaders in their area of expertise. Shannon shows more than outstanding promise to become a future leader in her area of science - she is already there! She is at the forefront of science on neighborhood environments, particularly the food environment and health. Her work has significant international impact on policy and environmental changes. As noted in the award announcement below, she has published 64 peer reviewed articles, 7 book chapters, and has been PI or Co-I on grants totaling over $42 million.

Announcement

Rising Star: Shannon Zenk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Health Systems Science, College of Nursing. Dr. Zenk is at the forefront of science on neighborhood environments, particularly the food environment and health. Dr. Zenk's studies show that low-income and racial/ethnic minority neighborhoods often provide poor access to healthy foods, areas now often described as "food deserts." Her most recent work using nationwide data revealed disparities in the availability of healthier to less healthy food products and prepared foods. The impact of Dr. Zenk's research is recognized internationally. She has published 64 peer-reviewed articles, has 7 book chapters, and has presented her work in 10 countries. She has made outstanding contributions to improving our understanding of factors that contribute to nutrition and obesity, and particularly racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequities. Her rigorous research yields strong impact by contributing high-quality evidence for real policy and environmental changes. Investigators from many disciplines invite her input and collaboration on studies addressing a broad spectrum of health behaviors and outcomes, including prescription medication use, low birth weight, brain aging, and obesity. These collaborations have produced 23 funded national grants totaling over $42 million.

See also: Hostettler, Sam, "Where People Live, Spend Time Impacts Their Health", UIC News (2/16/2016)