Research Fellow and Project Director
Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Molly De Marco is a Research Scientist the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a Research Assistant Professor with the Department of Nutrition in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She conducts research on determinants of health disparities and food insecurity and focuses on community-based research that engages low-income and historically marginalized populations in improving the food environment.
Dr. De Marco works with HPDP’s Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Unit and as key staff on the Community Academic Resources for Engaged Scholarship (CARES) Program of the North Carolina Translational Research and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, home of UNC’s Clinical and Translational Science (CTSA) Award. With TraCS CARES, she facilitates linkages between community members and academics with similar research interests.
For the past six years, Dr. De Marco has directed a program, funded through the USDA, to assist SNAP recipients to make healthy food choices, extend Summer Meals to more SNAP-eligible families in rural communities, and engage SNAP recipients in community gardens to build access to healthy food. She helps to direct a USDA-funded center to assist SNAP-Ed and EFNEP providers to implement more Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change activities. Dr. De Marco also conducts studies to examine how to activate local food buying among grocery store customers and how to encourage healthy eating among WIC and SNAP recipients, and elementary school children. She is collaborating with Duke University on a USDA-funded center to test behavioral economic strategies to encourage healthy food choice in a retail setting. She co-developed and teaches each Spring term Nutrition 245, Sustainable, Local Food Systems – Intersection of Local Foods and Public Health, a service learning course.