Andrea Richardson

Photo of Andrea Richardson
Policy Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in nutrition epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.P.H. in epidemiology, Emory University; B.S. in math, University of Chicago

Media Resources

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Andrea Richardson is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research focus is nutrition epidemiology and encompasses the social and biological risk factors that underlie obesity throughout the life course. Through her work in the health research field, she developed a broad knowledge base in population-based and clinical research. Her research interests include the underlying mechanisms between environment (built and social), behaviors, biology (genetics), and health disparities. She is particularly motivated to address neighborhood (dis)investment, social injustice, and racial inequity impact on health in racial/ethnic minority populations. Richardson has strong statistical skills and publication history in peer-reviewed journals. Her expertise includes complex longitudinal and structural equation modeling to link environmental determinants to obesity disparities in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Richardson received her Ph.D. in nutrition epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her M.P.H. in epidemiology from Emory University, and her B.S. in math from the University of Chicago.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Recent Projects

  • Federal School Nutrition Policies, Student Food Insecurity and BMI
  • Grow Pittsburgh Learning Garden Evaluation

Selected Publications

Richardson AS, Collins, RL, Nugroho A, et al., "Improvements in Neighborhood Socioeconomic Conditions May Improve Resident Diet," Am J Epidemiol, 190(5), 2021

Richardson AS, Meyer KA, Howard AG, Boone-Heinonen J, Popkin BM, Evenson KR, Kiefe CI, Lewis CE, Gordon-Larsen P, "Neighborhood socioeconomic status and food environment: A 20-year longitudinal latent class analysis among CARDIA participants.," Health & Place, 30, 2014

Richardson AS, Troxel WM, Collins RL, Ghosh-Dastidar M, Hunter GP, Beckman R, Colabianchi N, Dubowitz T., "Pathways through which higher neighborhood crime is longitudinally associated with greater body mass index.," Int J Behav Nut Phys Act, (1), 2017

Richardson AS, Ghosh-Dastidar M, Collins RL, Beckman R, Flórez K, Dubowitz T. , "Can the introduction of a full service supermarket in a food desert improve residents’ economic status and health? ," Ann Epidemiol, (12), 2017

Richardson AS, Dietz WH, Gordon-Larsen P, "The association between childhood sexual and physical abuse with incident adult severe obesity: The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," Pediatr Obes, 9(5), 2014

Richardson AS, Boone-Heinonen J, Popkin BM, Gordon-Larsen P, "Neighborhood fast food restaurants and fast food consumption: A national study," BMC Public Health, 8(11), 2011

Richardson AS, Meyer KA, Howard AG, Boone-Heinonen J, Popkin BM, Evenson KR, Shikany JM, Lewis CE, Gordon-Larsen, "Multiple pathways from the neighborhood food environment to increased body mass index through dietary behaviors: A structural equation-based analysis in the CARDIA study," Health & Place, 7(36), 2015

5.Richardson AS, Ghosh-Dastidar M, Beckman R, Flórez KR, DeSantis A, Collins RL, Dubowitz T, Violent crime, police presence and poor sleep in two low-income urban predominantly Black American neighborhoods., J Epidemiol Community Health , 2020

Honors & Awards

  • Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Pre-doctoral trainee, Carolina Population Center
  • Royster Society Fellowship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill




  • Volunteers distribute food to veterans at a Veterans Affairs food pantry in Dayton, Ohio, October 15, 2020, photo by Jeffrey Dean/Reuters

    Why Are U.S. Veterans at Heightened Risk of Food Insecurity?

    U.S. veterans are at great risk of food insecurity, but there is limited understanding of exactly how many veterans lack resources to attain adequate and nutritious food and why. If resources are to be directed more effectively, the United States needs better clarity into the magnitude of the problem.

    Nov 24, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • A volunteer with Highpoint Charitable Services loads groceries into the car of a family in need at a food bank in LaGrange, Kentucky, April 13, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    In Pittsburgh: Feeding the Needy, and Protecting Workers on the Front Lines of the Pandemic

    Access to food could be critical to getting through the COVID-19 pandemic. Local leaders and policymakers may find themselves having to devote new resources to make sure all citizens have access to food and to protect those on the front lines.

    Apr 30, 2020 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

  • Children pick up lunch at the Olympic Hills Elementary School, after schools were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in Seattle, Washington, March 17, 2020, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Food Access: Challenges and Solutions Brought on by COVID-19

    For the 14.3 million American households already experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic, shutdowns and restrictions have created new layers of hardship. Tremendous efforts are already underway to help. But the weeks to come will surely demand more creative solutions from the public and private sectors.

    Mar 31, 2020 The RAND Blog