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About Jacqueline A. Vernarelli

Jacqueline A. Vernarelli, Ph.D. is Program Director of the Master of Public Health and Associate Professor of Public Health.  She currently serves as the Director of Research Education and Consultation for the College of Health Professions. She is a nutritional epidemiologist and public health nutritionist who studies the effects of diet and lifestyle on health status.  Dr. Vernarelli’s research broadly focuses on dietary intake (including, food choice, eating behaviors, and dietary assessment methodology) and health status. Much of her work has involved analysis of population datasets, including the NHANES.  As a translational scientist, she also works in the community, exploring public health challenges related to nutritional intake in the local population including maternal & child health, and how environmental factors influence food choices. She was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award from Penn State and the NIH Dietary Supplement Research Practicum Travel Award, in addition to several grants. 


September 2021 - Present Associate Professor, Sacred Heart University College of Health Professions, Public Health
August 2018 - Present Director of Research Education and Consultation, Sacred Heart University College of Health Professions
August 2018 - August 2021 Assistant Professor Public Health, Sacred Heart University College of Health Professions, Public Health
June 2014 - August 2018 Assistant Professor, Fairfield University


2022 - Present Public Health Scholarship Program to Strengthen the Emergency Preparedness Workforce
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration - HRSA
Role: Project director and principal investigator
Colleague(s): B. Cross-Denny, C. Gunther, S. Pendley
2018 - 2019 Is there a lead diet? Harnessing population-based evidence for translatable public health messages on lowering childhood lead exposure.
CSTI Pilot Grant
2017 Evaluating the role of dietary intake on locomotor development in children age 3-5y.
Fairfield University Science Institute Grant Award.
2016 Investigating the Association Between Dietary Energy Density, Gestational Diabetes, and Infant Birth Weight in a Nationally Representative Sample of US Women
Fairfield University Faculty Research Grant.
2012 - 2014 Translating Diet and Health Attributes of Egg Consumption to an Intervention Designed to Enhance Diet Quality of Low-Income Women
The Egg Board Research Grant
Role: Co-investigator
2011 - 2014 Dietary energy density, body size, and biomarkers related to cancer risk
American Institute of Cancer Research Grant.
Role: Co-investigator
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Honors and Awards

  • American Society for Nutrition Translational Research Award Honoree, 2016
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Penn State College of Health & Human Development, 2014
  • NIH Dietary Supplement Research Practicum Travel Award, 2013
  • National Nutrient Databank Conference Travel Award, 2012
  • Tenure Award AY 2021/22


2005 - 2009 PhD, Medical Nutrition Science, Boston University School of Medicine
2004 - 2005 Master of Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Georgetown University
2000 - 2004 Bachelor of Science Biochemistry, Skidmore College

Contact Information

Public Health
College of Health Professions
Center for Healthcare Education CHCE*N105D


Research Works (29)