Nutrition professor named Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor

August 05, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Stephen Kodish, assistant professor of biobehavioral health and nutritional sciences, has been named the Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor in Nutrition.

Kodish studies global nutrition, focusing on the approximate “one billion people who live on less than two dollars per day,” he said. His research focuses largely on nutrition in humanitarian contexts, with a particular focus on the design, implementation and evaluation of interventions for improving nutrition among vulnerable populations.

Stephen Kodish

Stephen Kodish is an assistant professor of biobehavioral health and nutritional sciences.

IMAGE: Penn State

“In my field, financial resources are very limited and the global contexts where I work offer dynamic, unique, research-related challenges,” said Kodish. “I’m excited about this additional funding to further support current projects by being able to strength research design rigor, recruit student support, and employ methodologies to better address malnutrition.”

Kodish has a number of research projects around the world that will be supported during this three-year appointment. In several Pacific island countries, he recently completed formative research describing the social and behavioral factors related to infant and young child nutrition. In Sri Lanka, he is studying acute malnutrition in children under five years old, and an upcoming study in Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh and Tanzania will focus on the use of antenatal multiple micronutrient supplements to improve maternal and child health.

Kodish is also excited about the opportunity the endowment presents to collaborate on research with other Penn State faculty and researchers.

Catharine Ross, head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair, and professor of nutrition and physiology, agreed: “Endowed funds help support the initial steps in collaborations, which can then grow into larger, otherwise-sponsored projects,” she said. “As a dual appointment between the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Biobehavioral Health, Stephen has a unique opportunity to build bridges between these departments and beyond.”

Kodish joined the College of Health and Human Development with a dual appointment in the Departments of Biobehavioral Health and Nutritional Sciences in 2018. He earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in international health with a focus on public health nutrition and social behavioral interventions. He also completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Nutrition.

The Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professorship in Nutrition, along with two other early career professorships in the College of Health and Human Development, were established by the late Ann Atherton Hertzler, who earned her degree in home economics from Penn State in 1957. Hertzler was a professor emerita of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech University. The endowments provide faculty members with funds to support their professional development. Their impact extends to students too, as professors often use such funds to hire undergraduate and graduate students as research or teaching assistants, or to cover students’ independent research or professional travel.

To learn more about the Penn State Departments of Biobehavioral Health and Nutritional Sciences, visit and

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 05, 2019