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About Us


Warren Hall– home of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics
and Child Nutrition Programs.

The Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (The BEN Center), was launched on October 12, 2010. The BEN Center is funded by the USDA and is charged with conducting and supporting research in K-12 schools based on the principles of behavioral economics. The goal of this research is to discover low cost/no cost techniques that encourage children to select and eat more of the healthier foods available to them in school lunchrooms. The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM) launched in 2009, is the outreach arm of the BEN Center to provide schools with these research-based solutions to encourage healthier eating in the lunchroom while maintaining participation and revenue. The SLM team has trained thousands of people across the country in the basics of applied behavioral economics and SLM is currently implemented in approximately 30,000 schools across the nation. The BEN Center houses the SLM National Office and is located in the historical Warren Hall on Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY.

David R. Just (Ph.D. 2001 and MS 1999 in Agricultural and Resource Economics - University of California, Berkeley) David is a Professor and Co-Director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at Cornell University.

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David’s work on behavioral economics and the school lunch program has shown how low/no cost solutions can lead school children to make healthier choices without reducing overall availability of choices, or breaking the school budget. His research has won wide recognition, winning numerous awards for quality of research from both the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and the European Association of Agricultural Economists, and was cited by Discover Magazine as one of the top science stories of 2006. He is also the author of the award winning book Introduction to Behavioral Economics published in 2013.

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Brian Wansink (PhD 1990 in Marketing & Consumer Behavior - Stanford University) Brian is the John Dyson Professor of Marketing, Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. and Co-Director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at Cornell University.

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Brian is a leading expert in changing eating behavior – both on an individual level and on a mass scale – using principles of behavioral science. His research focuses on how ads, packaging, and personality traits influence the usage frequency and usage volume of healthy foods. His research on consumption volume has won national and international awards for its relevance to consumers. His findings have been widely featured on 20/20, BBC News, The Learning Channel, all news networks, and on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is also the author of Mindless Eating (2006) and Slim by Design (2014) as well as over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles. From 2007 until 2009 he was appointed by the White House as the USDA’s CNPP Executive Director in charge of the Dietary Guidelines for 2010 and the Food Guide Pyramid (MyPyramid.gov).

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Erin Sharp (MS 2008 in Educational Administration & Supervision - McDaniel College, MAT 2002 in Secondary English Education - Towson University, BA 2001 in English 2001 - Cornell University) Erin is the curriculum designer for the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs at Cornell University.

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Erin’s roles as researcher, trainer, and curriculum designer for the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement have been guided by the concept that every stakeholder’s voice is valuable and necessary to enact successful, lasting changes in schools. She led the development of many Smarter Lunchrooms tools and training procedures, including the No Time to Train professional development program for school food service professionals and the Technical Assistance Provider’s training program. She also provides advice and project support for TAPs and State Collaboratives. Previous to this role, she was an English teacher for grades 9-12.

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Adam Brumberg (BS 2009 in Marketing, Food Industry Management, Market Research - Cornell University) Adam is a Research Specialist in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at Cornell University and the Deputy Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. Working directly with Brian Wansink and Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Childhood Nutrition (BEN) co-director David Just, he coordinates academic and industry research conducted by both the Food and Brand Lab and the BEN Center.

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Adam joined the Cornell Food & Brand Lab after a lengthy marketing/sales career in the wine industry during which he worked with all the links of the distribution chain as well as acting as a marketing/research consultant to a variety of industry and non-profit clients. He is currently conducting research to determine if Behavioral Economics can somehow be used to nudge the New York Knicks into having a winning season.

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Sandra Cuellar-Healey (MA in Food Marketing 1996, Master of Food Science 1985 - Cornell University), Sandra is the Director of the Healthy Food Choices in Schools Community of Practice (CoP), an eXtension online resource with the vision “to become the one-stop source for eating behavior insights, interventions and practical steps for food service providers, policy makers, health professionals and parents to promote healthy food choices in school food environments.” The CoP disseminates research/expertise-based knowledge from the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs/Smarter Lunchrooms Movement and from its expert members nationwide, through articles, webinars and courses available online.

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Sandra is also the Director of Communications & Outreach for the Institute for Behavioral Economics and Individual Choice (IBECC) and the Deputy Director of the Master of Professional Studies with concentration in Applied Behavioral Economics and Individual Choice (ABEIC) Program, in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at Cornell University.

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Katherine Baildon (BA 2012 in English - Alfred University) Katie is the Communications Coordinator, and Assistant to the Director, of the eXtension Healthy Food Choices in Schools Community of Practice (CoP). Katie’s primary responsibilities include content development and dissemination, membership coordination, operations and channels of communications (e.g. Ask an Expert and social media) management, facilitating marketing efforts and collecting information on CoP’s performance for reporting to eXtension. She also advises and executes Smarter Lunchrooms Movement digital outreach in collaboration with SLM Executive Director Heidi Kessler.

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Katie is also Communications Assistant for the Cornell Food & Brand Lab in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at Cornell University.

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