Noreen Willows


Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences

Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science

About Me


PhD, Human Nutrition, McGill University

Job/Research Area 

Community Nutrition 


7-year (2010-2017) Health Scholar award from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions to engage in Population Health Intervention Research to Enhance Community Food Security in First Nation Communities in Alberta. 

2015 named by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science as one of the “Teachers of the Year”  

A 2015 research article was singled out as an example of “Creativity and Innovation in Nutrition Education” by the 2014-2015 President of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), which represents the professional interests of nutrition educators in the United States and worldwide 

2013 recipient of the Centrum Foundation New Scientist Award of the Canadian Nutrition Society for outstanding research in nutrition 

2013 plaque recipient for contributions to improving the wellbeing of Alberta’s children, youth and family at Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research 10th Anniversary Research Showcase


Major Responsibilities/Research Interests 

Noreen Willows has a PhD in Human Nutrition from McGill University and degrees in Archaeology (MA) and Anthropology (BSc with distinction) from the University of Calgary. She is Associate Professor of Community Nutrition at the University of Alberta. Dr. Willows considers herself to be a nutritional anthropologist. She uses anthropological, qualitative and quantitative methodologies for studying key aspects of the nutrition of individuals, families, and communities. Her research program explores the relationships between food and health; cultural meanings of food and health; how food beliefs and dietary practices affect the well-being of communities; and, how socio-cultural factors affect food intake and food selection. She takes a community-based, participatory approach to research, in which she collaborates respectfully with community members to find solutions to health problems. Her research focuses predominantly on First Nations communities. Currently, she is working with First Nations communities in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec to help address their food security and nutrition concerns. Recent research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research. It is collaborate research with First Nation communities to (1) gain information about food security to form the development of tailored, community-based interventions, and (2) to build community capacity to alleviate food insecurity. In addition, Dr. Willows has addressed key knowledge gaps about the food security situation of postsecondary students at the University of Alberta.