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Nicholas Freudenberg

Distinguished Professor of Public Health; Director of the Doctoral Program at CUNY's School of Public Health; Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
Chapter Member: New York City SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Nicholas

Freudenberg's research focuses on the impact of corporate business and political practices on public health. Freudenberg analyzes how changes in 21st century capitalism have influenced global patterns of health and disease. A main focus of his work is on the role of global food business in food insecurity, diet-related diseases, and the rise of low wage food work. Freudenberg also studies the role of social movements and civil society in creating alternatives to health damaging social and economic policies.

In the News

Opinion: "After COVID-19, We Must Save CUNY," Nicholas Freudenberg (with Erinn C. Bacchus and Michelle Fine), Daily News, May 29, 2022.
Opinion: "Cancer Moonshot 2.0: A Missed Opportunity for Prevention," Nicholas Freudenberg, STAT, February 5, 2022.
Opinion: "Time for a Reset for New York City Food Policy; Here’s 6 Key Steps," Nicholas Freudenberg (with Katherine Tomaino Fraser and Yvette Ng), Gotham Gazette , August 13, 2021.
Opinion: "Why Do We Ignore Capitalism When We Examine the Health Crises of Our Time?," Nicholas Freudenberg, The BMJ, May 6, 2021.
Opinion: "To Protect Health, Rein In Big Tech: Influential Companies Must Take Responsibility for Effects," Nicholas Freudenberg, New York Daily News, March 29, 2021.
Quoted by Tiffany Pennamon in "New York Governor Proposes Legislation to End Hunger at all Public State Schools," Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, January 4, 2018.
Opinion: "8 Ways to Move the Food Movement Forward in the Age of Trump," Nicholas Freudenberg (with Mark Bittman), Civil Eats, May 30, 2017.
Opinion: "The Right to Hear Controversial Ideas," Nicholas Freudenberg (with Meena Alexander , Gerald Markowitz, Rosalind Petchesky, and Michelle Fine ), Inside Higher Education, May 22, 2017.
Opinion: "How NAFTA Got Mexicans Hooked on U.S. Junk Food," Nicholas Freudenberg, Dallas Morning News, May 1, 2017.
Opinion: "Beyond Obamacare: Stopping Corporations from Making People Sick," Nicholas Freudenberg, The American Prospect, May 6, 2016.
Opinion: "To Reduce Inequality, Reinvest in CUNY," Nicholas Freudenberg (with Michelle Fine and Meena Alexander), Crain's New York Business, February 26, 2016.
Opinion: "True Cost of Diverted Tobacco Payouts Measured in Lives," Nicholas Freudenberg, The Conversation, October 21, 2014.
Opinion: "GM's $35 Million Fine is a Downpayment on Fixing America's Regulation," Nicholas Freudenberg, Talking Points Memo, May 20, 2014.
Opinion: "How Washington Dooms Millions of Americans to Premature Death," Nicholas Freudenberg, Daily Beast, February 25, 2014.
Research discussed by Mark Bittman, in "Rethinking Our ‘Rights’ to Dangerous Behaviors," New York Times, February 24, 2014.
Guest on CSPAN Books, February 20, 2014.
Guest on MSNBC’s “The Cycle”, February 17, 2014.
Opinion: "Top Lessons from 50 Years of Fighting the Tobacco Industry," Nicholas Freudenberg, The Guardian, January 14, 2014.


"Breaking Bad Patents: Learning From HIV/AIDS To Make COVID-19 Treatments Accessible" (with Alexa B. D'Angelo, Christian Grov, and Jeremiah Johnson). Global Public Health 16, no. 10 (2021): 1523-1536.

Shows some of the strategies that have been used to challenge patents on HIV treatment and prevention drugs both in the U.S. and globally. Reviews several case studies of efforts to overturn patents, with the hope that we can glean lessons from these cases to inform efforts to improve access to generic COVID-19 treatment and prevention medicines and technologies.

"Measuring the Commercial Determinants of Health and Disease: A Proposed Framework" (with Kelly Lee, Marco Zenone, Julia Smith , Melissa Mialon, Robert Marten , Joana Madureira Lima, Sharon Friel, Daniel Eisenkraft Klein , Eric Crosbie , and Kent Buse). International Journal of Health Services 52, no. 1 (2022): 115-128.

Identities strategies for assessing the role of market actors and market forces on patterns of health and disease across nations, business sectors and time.

"What We Can Learn From US Food Policy Response to Crises of the Last 20 Years–Lessons for the COVID-19 Era: A Scoping Review" (with Katherine Tomiano Fraser, Sarah Shapiro, Craig Willingham, EmilioTavarez, and Joel Berg). SSM - Population Health 17 (2022).

Examines lessons on restoring food security extracted from analyses of prior responses to natural and human-made disasters and assesses their relevance for responses to covid pandemic.

"Corporations, Health, and Global Politics" Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies (2021).

Analyzes how corporate use of power influences health and the global politics that shape health.

"The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on College Students' Health and Financial Stability in New York City: Findings from a Population-Based Sample of City University of New York (CUNY) Students" (with Heidi E Jones , Meredith Manze, Victoria Ngo, and Patricia Lamberson). Journal of Urban Health 98, no. 2 (2021): 187-96.

Assesses the impact of the covid pandemic and its economic consequences on the physical and mental health, food security and financial stability of students at the City University of New York.

"At What Cost: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health" Oxford University Press (2021).

Analyzes how changes in 21st century capitalism have contributed to premature deaths and preventable illnesses across countries and business sectors and explores roles of social movements, governments, and others in creating healthier, more equitable and sustainable alternatives. 

"A Public Health Agenda for the 2020s" American Journal of Public Health 111, no. 10 (2021): 1757-1760.

Suggests six unifying goals for a broad based alliance that can change those elements of 21st century capitalism most associated with global public health crises.

"What Makes Ultra-Processed Food Appealing? A Critical Scan and Conceptual Model" (with Emilia F. Vignola1 and Aydin Nazmi). World Nutrition 12, no. 4 (2021): 136-175.

Examines the intersecting roles of characteristics of people, products, and food industry practices in making ultra-processed food, a leading cause of premature death and preventable illness, so appealing.

"How Do Childcare and Pregnancy Affect the Academic Success of College Students?" (with Meredith Manze). Journal of American College Health (2021).

Describes academic, health and other challenges facing City University of New York students who are also parents of young children.

" College Students and SNAP: The New Face of Food Insecurity in the United States." (with Sara Goldrick-Rab and Janet Poppendieck ). American Journal of Public Health 109, no. 12 (2019): 1652-8.

Provides an overview of history and policies influencing college students’ enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and suggests strategies for strengthening SNAP’s capacity to reduce food insecurity and hunger in this population.

"The Role of Metrics in Food Policy: Lessons From a Decade of Experience in New York City" (with Nevin Cohen). Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 8 (2018): 191-209.

Bases on New York City Food Metrics Reports, mandated by the City Council since 2012, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the city’s reporting on its food programs and policies and suggests ways to make these reports more useful for achieving a more equitable and efficient food system.

"Creating Integrated Strategies for Increasing Access to Healthy Affordable Food in Urban Communities: A Case Study of Intersecting Food Initiatives" (with Michele Silver , Afia Bediako, Tracey Capers, and Aysu Kirac). Journal of Urban Health 94, no. 4 (2017): 482-93.

Describes several food initiatives launched in Central Brooklyn by the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and assesses their impact on food access, quality, and affordability

"Jobs for a Healthier Diet and a Stronger Economy: Opportunities for Creating New Good Food Jobs in New York City," New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College, 2013.
Reviews New York’s and national efforts to create entry level food jobs and recommends that New York City create 10,000 new Good Food Jobs by 2020 that provide living wages, safe working conditions and contribute to making healthier food more available and affordable.
"Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health" (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Examines the role of the “corporate consumption complex” in promoting chronic diseases and injuries, the leading causes of global premature death. Suggests strategies for a movement that can link concerns about corporate impact on health, the environment and democracy.
"Getting Serious about the Prevention of Chronic Diseases" (with Ken Olden). Preventing Chronic Disease 8, no. 4 (2011): A90.
Urges coordinated intersectoral action to prevent the growing burden of chronic diseases in the United States.
"Training New Community Health, Food Service, and Environmental Protection Workers Could Boost Health, Jobs, and Growth" (with Emma Tsui). Health Affairs 30, no. 11 (2011): 2098-2106.
Recommends creating new entry level jobs that can both promote community development and improve public health.
"Can a Food Justice Movement Improve Nutrition and Health? A Case Study of the Emerging Food Movement in New York City" (with Emma Tsui and John McDonough). Journal of Urban Health 88, no. 4 (2011): 623-636.
Traces the emergence of a food justice movement in New York City and assesses its accomplishments and limitations.
"Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue" (with Jessica Ruglis). Preventing Chronic Disease 4, no. 4 (2007): A107.
Shows that preventing high school dropout could reduce premature death and racial/ethnic and socioeconomic health inequalities and suggests how public health professionals can contribute to improved school retention.