Shannon N. Zenk, Ph.D., MPH, RN, FAAN

Dr. Shannon N. Zenk

Director, NINR and Senior Investigator, Neighborhoods and Health Lab
Division of Intramural Research

Dr. Shannon N. Zenk leads the Neighborhoods and Health Lab in the Division of Intramural Research at NIMHD and is the Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research. Dr. Zenk’s research interests center on environmental injustice and health. Under her direction, the Neighborhoods and Health Lab takes an explicitly contextual and spatial approach to understanding the role of the environment in health behaviors and outcomes, with the ultimate goal of producing evidence needed to eliminate racial/ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities. The Lab draws on insights and methodologies from fields as wide-ranging as public health, geography, economics, urban planning, and biometeorology. The Lab’s portfolio includes evaluation of natural experiments, secondary analyses of large cohort studies, and geographically explicit ecological momentary assessment (GEMA) studies.

Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Zenk was Nursing Collegiate Professor in the Department of Population Health Nursing Science at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing and a fellow at the UIC Institute of Health Research and Policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing, magna cum laude, from Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington; her master’s degrees in public health nursing and community health sciences from UIC; and her doctorate in health behavior and health education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She completed postdoctoral training in UIC’s Institute for Health Research and Policy’s Cancer Education and Career Development Program.

Dr. Zenk’s honors include the National Academy of Medicine; International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame; President’s Award, Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research; and Fellow, American Academy of Nursing.

Selected Publications

Zenk S.N., Pugach O., Ragonese-Barnes M., Odoms-Young A., Powell L.M., & Slater S. (2020). Did playground renovations equitably benefit neighborhoods in Chicago? Journal of Urban Health. doi: 10.1007/s11524-020-00472-4. PMID: 32875485

Zenk S.N., Tarlov E., Wing C., Slater S., Jones K.K., Fitzgibbon M., & Powell L.M. (2019). Does the built environment influence the effectiveness of a nationwide behavioral weight management program? Preventive Medicine, 126, 105776. PMCID: PMC6878977

Zenk S.N., Matthews S.A., Kraft A., & Jones K.K. (2018). How many days of global positioning system (GPS) monitoring do you need to measure activity space environments in health research? Health & Place, 51, 52-60. PMCID: PMC5963999

Zenk S.N., Tarlov E., Wing C., Matthews .S, Jones K., Tong H., & Powell L. (2017). Geographic accessibility of food outlets not associated with body mass index change among veterans, 2009-14. Health Affairs, 36, 1433-1442. PMCID: PMC5895451

Zenk S.N., Horoi I., McDonald A., Corte C., Riley B., & Odoms-Young A. (2014). Ecological momentary assessment of environmental and personal factors and snack food intake in African American women. Appetite, 83, 333-341. PMCID: PMC4376474

Page updated May 3, 2022