Food Security - Economics Department - University of Dallas

Food Security - Economics Department - University of Dallas


12.5% of US Households and 14.3% of Texas Households were food insecure in 2016. Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as having inconsistent access to adequate food due to lack of financial and other resources. People in food insecure households face ongoing challenges in meeting basic needs like food, rent, medicine and regular access to health care. ERG facilitates the Community Assistance Research Initiative (CARE), which fosters multidisciplinary research relationships across academic and community organizations to address relevant research questions related to food insecurity. Researchers are working to better understand the health and well-being of food pantry clients in order to inform new interventions and increased connectivity between the population and health care systems.


Crossroads ClientCare Longitudinal Database

Current Projects


Leonard, T., Hughes, A.E., Donegan, C., Santillan, A., Pruitt, S.L. (2018) Overlapping geographic clusters of food security and health: Where do social determinants and health outcomes converge in the U.S? SSM-Population Health 5, 160-170.

Higashi, R.T., Lee, S.J.C., Leonard, T., Pezzia, C., Pruitt, S.L. (2017) Family and Social Context Contributes to the Interplay of Economic Insecurity, Food Insecurity, and Health. Annals of Anthropological Practice. 41(2), 67-77.

Leonard, T., Hughes, A.E., Pruitt, S.L. (2017). Understanding how low-socioeconomic status households cope with health shocks: An analysis of multi-sector linked data. The American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Pruitt SL, Leonard T, Xuan L, Amory R, Nguyen OK, Pezzia C, Swales S. (2016). Who is food insecure? Implications for targeted recruitment and outreach. Preventing Chronic Disease.

Higashi, R.T., Lee, S.J.C., Leonard, T., Cuate, E.L., Cole, J., Pruitt, S.L. (2015). Multiple co-morbidities and interest in research participation among clients of a nonprofit food distribution site. Clinical and Translational Science.

Higashi, R., Lee, S.J.C., Leonard, T., Cuate, E., Cole, J., Pruitt, S.L. (2015) Charitable food distribution sites offer novel opportunities for cancer prevention research and intervention among vulnerable, hard-to-reach, and underserved populations. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. 24:764.