With a background in urban planning and environmental sciences, Dr. Chrisinger is committed to research that helps us understand relationships between the built environment and health, especially health disparities. Dr. Chrisinger is the co-Principal Investigator (Dr. Abby King, co-PI) for a pilot study, the Stress Experiences in Neighborhood and Social Environments Study (SENSES), that initiates a new line of inquiry using physiological data to better understand individuals' neighborhood perceptions within a community-engaged research process.
His previous research has examined efforts to open new supermarkets in underserved areas ("food deserts") by considering development processes, store-level outcomes, and community and customer experiences. Another element of his past and continuing food environment research includes issues surrounding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), and was a co-Investigator (Amy Hillier, PI) on a study funded by the USDA Economic Research Service to explore questions related to food store choice and nutritional outcomes. With Dr. Abby King’s Citizen Science Initiative, he also has coordinated a research partnership between with stakeholders in Camden, New Jersey to assess the city's healthy corner store initiatives.
Dr. Chrisinger completed his doctoral training in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former fellow with the Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS) Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Graduate Research Fellow with the National Science Foundation. He received undergraduate (Environmental Sciences, Urban and Environmental Planning) and graduate (Urban and Environmental Planning) degrees from the University of Virginia.
Honors & Awards
Graduate Fellow for Teaching Excellence, University of Pennsylvania Center for Teaching and Learning (2014-2015)
Emerging Leaders in Science & Society Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2013-2014)
Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (2010-2015)
The Raven Award, The Raven Society, University of Virginia (2011)
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, University of Virginia (2010)
Outstanding Student Award, American Institute of Certified Planners (2010)
Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Organizing Committee, Bay Area Healthy Corner Store Network (2015 - Present)
Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics (2013 - 2015)
Emerging Scholar, Penn Institute for Urban Research (2015 - Present)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania (2015)
Master of Planning, University of Virginia (2011)
Bachelor of Arts, University of Virginia (2010)
Ethical imperatives against item restriction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
2017; 100: 56-60
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is the federal government's largest form of food assistance, and a frequent focus of political and scholarly debate. Previous discourse in the public health community and recent proposals in state legislatures have suggested limiting the use of SNAP benefits on unhealthy food items, such as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). This paper identifies two possible underlying motivations for item restriction, health and morals, and analyzes the level of empirical support for claims about the current state of the program, as well as expectations about how item restriction would change participant outcomes. It also assesses how item restriction would reduce individual agency of low-income individuals, and identifies mechanisms by which this may adversely affect program participants. Finally, this paper offers alternative policies to promote healthier purchasing and eating among SNAP participants that can be pursued without reducing individual agency. Health advocates and officials must more fully weigh the attendant risks of implementing SNAP item restrictions, including the reduction of individual agency of a vulnerable population.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.04.009
View details for PubMedID 28392253
Evaluating Healthy Corner Stores: A Survey of Assessment Tools Used in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2016.
Preventing chronic disease
2017; 14: E43-?
Stakeholders from healthy corner store programs in the San Francisco Bay Area convened in November 2015 to discuss the future of programmatic and collaborative efforts. This study's objective, to gather and synthesize the types of evaluation tools used in the 9-county region, was identified as one of several priorities. Tools were collected via an online survey in July 2016, and data were extracted for comparison, including data on the number and types of food items, nutritional standards, and store characteristics. Twenty-five evaluation tools were collected, and differences were found in nutritional standards, terminology, and use of validated measures. Discrepancies between evaluation tools should be reconciled to make robust regional comparisons.
View details for DOI 10.5888/pcd14.170002
View details for PubMedID 28570208
Letter Regarding “Improving the Nutritional Impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
2017; 53 (3): e119
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.03.019
Characteristics of automated external defibrillator coverage in Philadelphia, PA, based on land use and estimated risk.
2016; 109: 9-15
Approximately 424,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occur in the US annually. As automated external defibrillators (AED) are an important part of the community response to OHCA, we investigated how well the spatial demand (likelihood of OHCA) was met by the spatial supply (AEDs) in a dense urban environment.Using geographic information system (GIS) software, we applied kernel density and optimized hot spot procedures with two differently-sized radii to model OHCA incidence rates from existing studies, providing an estimate of OHCA likelihood at a given location. We compared these density maps to existing AED coverage in the study area. Descriptive statistics summarized coverage by land use.With a 420-ft buffer, we found that 56.0% (79.9%, 840-ft buffer) of the land area in the city center was covered by existing AEDs at, though 70.1 (91.5)% of the OHCA risk was covered using kernel density and 79.8% (98.1) was covered using hot spot analysis.The difference in coverage by area and risk seems to indicate efficient placement of existing AEDs. Our findings also highlight the possible benefits to expanding the influence of AEDs by lowering search times, and identify opportunities to improve AED coverage in the study area. This article offers one method by which local officials can use spatial data to prioritize attention for AED placement and coverage.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2016.09.021
View details for PubMedID 27702581
A Mixed-Method Assessment of a New Supermarket in a Food Desert: Contributions to Everyday Life and Health
JOURNAL OF URBAN HEALTH-BULLETIN OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE
2016; 93 (3): 425-437
Initiatives to build supermarkets in low-income areas with relatively poor access to large food retailers ("food deserts") have been implemented at all levels of government, although evaluative studies have not found these projects to improve diet or weight status for shoppers. Though known to be influential, existing evaluations have neglected in-store social dynamics and shopper behaviors. Surveys and walking interviews were used with shoppers (n = 32) at a supermarket developed through the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative in Philadelphia, PA. Key informant interviews with stakeholders in the supermarket's development and operations provided additional context to these shopper experiences. Data were collected in July and September 2014 and qualitatively analyzed in NVivo 10.0. Participants described how the retailer helped them adapt or cope with difficult shopping routines and how it presented a reliable high-quality option (in terms of cleanliness, orderliness, and social atmosphere) in contrast to other neighborhood retailers. Health concerns were also identified, especially among those managing chronic disease for themselves or a family member. These issues underscored multiple points of challenge required to adjust shopping and eating behavior. In-store supports that reflect these challenges are warranted to more fully address food deserts and reduce health disparities.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11524-016-0055-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000377466300003
View details for PubMedID 27197735
Taking Stock of New Supermarkets in Food Deserts: Patterns in Development, Financing, and Health Promotion
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
San Francisco, CA.
; Community Development Investment Center Working Papers
Across the U.S., neighborhoods face disparate healthy food access, which has motivated federal, state, and local initiatives to develop supermarkets in “food deserts.” Differences in the implementation of these initiatives are evident, including the presence of health programming, yet no comprehensive inventory of projects exists to assess their impact. Using a variety of data sources, this paper provides details on all supermarket developments under “fresh food financing” regimes in the U.S. from 2004-2015, including information such as project location, financing, development, and the presence of health promotion efforts. The analysis identifies 126 projects, which have been developed in a majority of states, with concentrations in the mid-Atlantic and Southern California regions. Average store size was approximately 28,100 square feet, and those receiving financial assistance from local sources and New Markets Tax Credits were significantly larger, while those receiving assistance from other federal sources were significantly smaller. About 24 percent included health-oriented features; of these, over 80 percent received federal financing. If new supermarkets alone are insufficient for health behavior change, greater attention to these nuances is needed from program designers, policymakers, and advocates who seek to continue fresh food financing programs. Efforts to reduce rates of diet-related disease by expanding food access can be improved by taking stock of existing efforts. Link: http://www.frbsf.org/community-development/publications/working-papers/2016/august/new-supermarkets-in-food-deserts-development-financing-health-promotion/PDF here
- The Reality of Urban Food Deserts and What Low-Income Food Shoppers Need Social Policy and Social Justice edited by Jackson, Jr., J. L. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2016: 74–86
- Urban Agriculture and Health: What is Known, What is Possible? Cities of Farmers: Urban Agricultural Practices and Processes University of Iowa Press. 2016: 230–244
Reconsidering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as Community Development
JOURNAL OF NUTRITION EDUCATION AND BEHAVIOR
2015; 47 (3): 273-277
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) protects households from severe food insecurity or extreme poverty, buffers against certain adverse health effects, and exhibits a multiplier effect on the nation's economy. Nonetheless, SNAP remains contentious and benefit reductions are currently being debated. One new direction is to reconceptualize people-based SNAP allocations within place-based community development. Programs such as the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative encourage retailer development in underserved neighborhoods, creating healthy options and opportunities to reinvest SNAP dollars locally. By exploring relationships between these programs, researchers and practitioners can better understand how to enhance their impact on individuals and neighborhoods.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.10.005
View details for Web of Science ID 000355955600013
View details for PubMedID 25467214
Changing food stamp distribution to attract new grocers
The Baltimore Sun.
With one in four Baltimoreans living in a food desert, city officials have a long road ahead to deliver on promises of healthy, affordable and accessible food options. One of the city's approaches follows a tried-and-true roadmap that involves offering incentives, like tax breaks for locating in underserved areas, to retailers and developers — also known as "fresh food financing." Created over the last decade, these types of incentives work; in Philadelphia, the number of people living in food deserts was cut by 56 percent this way, for example.There is a simpler, less costly solution under consideration, however: changing when food stamps are distributed. Link: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-food-desert-20150722-story.htmlLink to The Baltimore Sun
Should We Still Be Talking About Food Deserts?
American Planning Association Food Systems Planning Interest Group.
By now, you’ve probably heard about food deserts. Maybe as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign to end childhood obesity. Maybe your state has established a task force to investigate food accessibility. Perhaps you’ve even mapped a food desert in your own town or city, using tools like the USDA’s Food Environment Atlas. Though the term “food desert” can mean a variety of things, generally speaking, it refers to places with limited proximity to supermarkets and low rates of vehicle ownership, thus making a simple shopping trip more difficult than in better-served areas. In many cities, the term also describes distinct racial and income disparities in terms supermarket access. Link: https://apafig.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/should-we-still-be-talking-about-food-deserts/Link to Blog
Tradition of healthy food access in low-income neighborhoods: Price and variety of curbside produce vending compared to conventional retailers.
Journal of agriculture, food systems, and community development
2013; 4 (1): 155-169
This paper describes the longstanding, naturally emergent model of curbside vending of whole fruit and vegetable produce across several low-income, low-health Philadelphia neighborhoods. We conducted open-ended interviews with managers of 11 curbside produce vendors and compared prices and varieties of fruits and vegetables with the 11 closest conventional outlets. We find that produce trucks offer significantly lower prices on common fruit and vegetable items and they carry a variety of items comparable to that carried by limited-assortment grocery stores. We conclude with recommendations regarding zoning, licensing, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) authorization that could stabilize and expand this model of healthy food access.
View details for PubMedID 25541595
Tradition of healthy food access in low-income neighborhoods: Price and variety of curbside produce vending compared to conventional retailers
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
2013; 4 (1): 155-169
View details for DOI 10.5304/jafscd.2013.041.011
Food Stamps and Place: New Cuts Could Dry Up Food Desert Improvements
On November 1, Congress allowed a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to sunset, immediately reducing the monthly food stamp (or SNAP) benefit by $36 for an average household of four. We’ve heard stories of SNAP participants’ strategies for coping with less: diverting already-scarce money from other expenditures (if possible), turning to friends, family, or charitable organizations, or simply eating less to bridge the gap. We’ve also heard about the probable effects on businesses: store owners who accept SNAP are likely to see decreased sales. Amid attention to the households and businesses affected by the SNAP cut, we have yet to discuss the effect on place. By stripping low-income neighborhoods of buying power - specifically food dollars - the federal government stands to thwart its own efforts to address the nation’s food desert problem. Link: http://www.planetizen.com/node/66580Link to Planetizen