RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Sociology, Social Demography
Area(s) of Expertise:
Obesity, Child and Adolescent Health and Health Risk Behavior, Education
Michelle Frisco received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2003-2005. She is currently a member of the Sociology and Demography faculty at Penn State University. Her early research focused on the ways that family structure, family structure transitions, and different aspects of parenting influence adolescent health and well-being, but the majority of her work for the last decade has examined the causes and consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity. This work has been supported by two awards from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Penn State BIRCWH Scholars Program (an NIH-supported career development award focused on interdisciplinary research on women’s health and gender differences in health). Her work on obesity has also led her to begin examining the diets of children and adolescents in efforts to understand how disparities in healthy eating emerge. Frisco has held numerous leadership positions in her career including roles as Interim Director and Associate Director of Penn State’s Population Research Center, Deputy Director of the journal Demography, Founding and Ex-Officio Board Member of the Interdisciplinary Association of Population Health Science, and Penn State’s University Point of Contact on the Big Ten Academic Alliance Health Equity Initiative. Her scholarship and teaching have also been recognized with awards from Penn State’s College of Liberal Arts.