Karen Glanz

Karen Glanz is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Epidemiology and Nursing and founding Director of the Center for Health Behavior Research. With appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Nursing, Glanz works at the intersection of health psychology, public health, and epidemiology.


Public Health + Psychology

karen glanz

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH is George A. Weiss University Professor, Professor of Epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine, Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing, and Director of the University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center. She is also Associate Director for Community Engaged Research and Program Leader for Cancer Control, at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute on Health Economics, the Center for Public Health Initiatives, and the Penn Institute for Urban Research, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. She was previously at Emory University (2004-2009), the University of Hawaii (1993 to 2004), and Temple University.

A globally influential public health scholar whose work spans psychology, epidemiology, nutrition and other disciplines, her research in community and health care settings focuses on obesity, nutrition, and the built environment; cancer prevention and control; chronic disease management and control; reducing health disparities; and health communication technologies. Her research and publications about understanding, measuring and improving healthy food environments, beginning in the 1980's, has been widely recognized and replicated. She was a member of the US Task Force on Community Preventive Services from 2006-2016. Her scholarly contributions consist of more than 500 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Glanz is senior editor of Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (Jossey-Bass Inc.), a widely used text now in its fifth edition (2015).

Karen Glanz has a long history of leading community-based health research and programs, and currently serves in several related roles at the University of Pennsylvania. She is Director of the Community Engagement and Research (CEAR) Core of the UPenn CTSA. Previously, she was Director of the Emory Prevention Research Center, a CDC-funded center emphasizing community-based participatory research, evaluation and training (2004-2009); and the Community Health Research Program at the University of Hawaii’s Cancer Research Center (1995-2004). Dr. Glanz has been recognized with local and national awards for her work, including being appointed to the Advisory Council for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2017.  Dr. Glanz was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. She was named a Fellow of the Society for Behavioral Medicine and received the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award. She was designated a Highly Cited Author by ISIHighlyCited.com, in the top 0.5% of authors in her field over a 20-year period since 2006, and was named one of The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2015 by Thomson Reuters.

  • adoption and diffusion
  • behavioral economics
  • behavioral change
  • disease prevention
  • health promotion
  • disparities and health equity
  • medical decision making
  • child/adolescent health
  • chronic diseases
  • oncology
  • public health


Glanz K, Rimer BK, Viwanath V (Eds.). Health Behavior and Health Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc./Wiley, 1990, 1997, 2002, 2008.

Glanz K, Rimer BK, Viswanath V (Eds.).  Health Behavior:  Theory, Research, and Practice, Fifth Edition.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, Inc./Wiley, 2015.

Academic Writings (Selected)

Glanz K, Handy S, Henderson K, Slater S, Davis E, Powell L. Built environment assessment: Multidisciplinary perspectivesSSM Population Health, 2: 24-31, 2016.

Green SH, Glanz K.  Development of the Perceived Nutrition Environment Measures Survey (NEMS-P).   American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 49: 50-61, 2015.

Glanz K, Sallis JF, Saelens BE.  Advances in Physical Activity and Nutrition Environment Assessment Tools and Applications:  Recommendations.  American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 48(5): 615-619, 2015.

Keddem S, Barg F, Glanz K, Jackson T, Green SH, George M.  Mapping the Urban Asthma Experience: Using Qualitative GIS to Understand Contextual Factors Affecting Asthma Control.  Social Science and Medicine, 2015; 140: 9-17. Foster G, Karpyn A, Wojtanowski A, Davis E, Weiss S, Brensinger C, Tierney A, Guo W, Brown J, Spross C, Leuchten D, Burns P, Glanz K.  Placement strategies to increase the sales of healthier products in supermarkets in low-income, ethnically diverse neighborhoods: A randomized controlled trialAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 99: 1359-1368, 2014.

Cavanaugh E, Green S, Mallya G, Tierney A, Brensinger C, Glanz K. Changes in Food and Beverage Environments after an Urban Corner Store InterventionPreventive Medicine, 65:7-12, 2014

Glanz K, Volpicelli K, Kanetsky PA, Ming ME, Schuchter LM, Jepson C, Domchek SM, Armstrong K.  Melanoma genetic testing, counseling, and adherence to skin cancer prevention and detection behaviorsCancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 22: 607-614, 2013.

Glanz K, Bader MD, Iyer S.: Retail grocery store marketing strategies and obesity: An integrative reviewAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine 42(5): 503-512, 2012.

For more publications, visit Glanz's CV.

Interviews and Features (Selected)

"PIK Professor Discusses Controversial New Dietary Guidelines," Penn Current, February 18, 2016

"Coca-Cola Funding for Health Research," Knowledge @ Wharton Radio, August 2015

"FDA Ban on Trans Fats," Knowledge @ Wharton Radio,   June 2015

"Free Sunscreen in Miami Beach," Knowledge @ Wharton Radio, March 2015

"Healthy Eating: The Mind Games of Supermarkets,” BBC Futures, August 2014

"Staying Fit Through Life," Radio Times, June 12, 2014 [audio] 

"Well Being: Scientist Embraces Challenges," Philadelphia Inquirer, June 2, 2014

"New Dietary Guidelines," Knowledge @ Wharton Radio, January 2014

Video (Selected)

"Obesity and the Built Environment," Engaging Minds, University of Pennsylvania Alumni Lecture Series, March 18, 2010

"Understanding and Improving Nutrition Environments in Grocery Stores and Restaurants," University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Video Library, May 14, 2008

“The way to ensure the continued greatness of Penn is to invest in the people. With this program, we're going to recruit even more superstar faculty and catapult this University to a new level of eminence."  

- George A. Weiss 

In 2010, George Weiss,W'65, HON'14, together with his wife, Lydia, endowed four Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professorships, adding to his extensive philanthropic legacy of support for Penn's highest priorities. George Weiss is a University of Pennsylvania Trustee Emeritus and a member of the Executive Committee of the Penn Medicine Board. He is a 1985 recipient of the Alumni Award of Merit, the University's highest alumni honor. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Pennsylvania.  


  • Karen Glanz was appointed the George A. Weiss University Professor in June 2009.
  • Dorothy Roberts was appointed the George A. Weiss University Professor in April 2012.
  • Rakesh Vohra was appointed the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor in May 2013.
  • Aviv Nevo was appointed the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor in January 2016.
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan (Health Behavior and Health Education)
  • M.P.H., University of Michigan (Health Behavior and Health Education)
  • B.A., University of Michigan


University Service
  • Senior Fellow, Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI)
  • Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI)
  • Distinguished Fellow, Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC)
  • Faculty Fellow, Penn Institute for Urban Research (IUR) 
Professional Positions & Affiliations (Selected)
  • Director, University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center
  • Director, Penn Prevention Research Center
  • Associate Director for Community-Engaged Research, Abramson Cancer Center
  • Program Leader, Cancer Control Program, Abramson Cancer Center
  • Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB)
  • Member, Grad Group in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Member, Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (IDOM) and
  • Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center (DERC)
Additional Penn Profiles

Perelman School of Medicine
801 Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898.0613 (o)

Penn Nursing Science
418 Curie Blvd
321 Fagin Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104