Improving Food Security to Increase Resiliency to COVID-19 for Latinx Populations

Join the team


January 2023 - August 2023

Project status: Open

  • Summer 2022 (optional): 2 Ph.D. students and 1 master’s student travel to Madagascar to participate in field research and development 
  • Fall 2022: Curate and analyze data from Malagasy team members; hold weekly progress meetings and Malagasy speaker series 
  • Spring 2023: Complete data analysis; draft publications; work toward honors theses; develop reports for local stakeholders


This project team took on the problem of food insecurity among Durham’s Latinx residents, one in five of whom said they sometimes skipped or limited their meals. In the context of the pandemic, access to sufficient nutritious food took on even greater importance. Working with Root Causes, an organization run by Duke medical students, the team researched strategies for adapting to COVID-19, such as modes of contactless food delivery. Using surveys and deidentified medical records, team members assessed the impact of Root Causes’ Fresh Produce Program on patient health and food security amid pandemic conditions. Through interviews and a comparative study of food redistribution organizations, the team identified (and continues to identify) local and global best practices in addressing food insecurity as part of the response to the pandemic.

Members of the team have continued their work during the summer of 2021, facilitating a Community Consultation Studio with Triangle area food security organizations in conjunction with Duke’s CTSI Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERI). Partnering with the Duke Campus Farm, the team also expanded the Fresh Produce Program to around 150 households in Durham, including many high-need Latinx families. Deliveries included fresh food as well as masks, household essentials and educational materials.



Project Manager
Peining Yang

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