Tarra Penney

Assistant Professor

Locations / Contact Info:

5022F Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building - DB
Keele Campus
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext. 33406

Email address(es):

tpenney@yorku.ca

Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - School of Kinesiology & Health Science

Degrees

BSc - 2007
Dalhousie University
Canada

MA - 2013
Dalhousie University
Canada

PhD - 2017
University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

Biography

Tarra Penney, PhD is a population health scientist focused on disease prevention, an assistant professor of policy evaluation in Global Health, an investigator with the Global Strategy Lab and a member of the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University. 

Dr. Penney returns to Canada after serving as a Research Associate at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, UK supporting an evaluation of a nation-wide policy to reduce sugar in soft drinks and prevent disease. She completed her PhD at the same department in epidemiology and public health with a focus on local food availability and population level diet and obesity prevention, funded by the Cambridge Trusts. Prior to her PhD, she studied cognitive psychology and computer science, completed a CIHR funded Master’s degree in health promotion, and published in the area of obesity prevention with a focus on population health intervention research as a Research Associate at the Healthy Populations Institute, Dalhousie University, Canada.  

She has worked with national and international organisations in the area of food system transition to prevent disease and improve health including Cambridge Global Food Security - an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Cambridge, the Global Food Security Programme in London, UK and the WHO European office.

Twitter: @TarraPenney 

Affiliations

Trinity College, University of Cambridge
Affiliate

European Public Health Association
Member

Society for Social Medicine and Population Health
Member

International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity
Member

Supervision

Currently available to supervise graduate students: Yes

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: No

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: Yes

Current Research

Dr Penney’s program of research focuses on examining the impact of globalization on human and planetary health through studying the consequences of national policies implemented within complex political, social and commercial systems.  Specifically she is focused on generating population level evidence for addressing the role that the food system plays in driving global threats to health including obesity, undernutrition, zoonoses and climate change. She uses systems thinking and draws on multiple methods from epidemiology, social and political science to evaluate national policy and explore opportunities within the commercial sector to transition toward healthy, sustainable and equitable food systems. Tarra is also interested in methodological aspects of generating evaluative evidence for undersstanding the consequences of policy change. In particular, developing transdisciplinary approaches to understand how and why policies work or fail to improve policy learning, reduce the potential for epistemic errors and build and maintain public trust in science.

Google Scholar Publications

LinkedIn Profile

ResearchGate Profile

Research Projects

Chronic disease prevention at the global level: Supporting regional capacity building for systems thinking in practice
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $39,850
Year Funded: 2020
Duration: 2
Funded by: Other...
Other funding: World Health Orgnisation European Office

Evaluating the Governance of Emergent Pandemic Zoonoses: A Systems and Legal Analysis of Wildlife Markets
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $$446,912
Year Funded: 2020
Duration: 2
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Evidence for healthy, sustainable diets: multi-country analysis of dietary intake, policy instruments and the role of the commercial sector
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $60,000
Year Funded: 2019
Duration: 2
Funded by: York University

International food policy study: Evaluating the impact of food labelling, marketing, and fiscal nutrition policies
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $3,915,000
Year Funded: 2019
Duration: 5
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Local food availability, diet and obesity: Development and empirical testing of a complex theory
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $170,000
Year Funded: 2013
Duration: 3
Funded by: Other...
Other funding: Cambridge Trusts

Low-agency population interventions and policy options to reduce meat consumption: a systematic review and critical interpretive synthesis
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $8,500
Year Funded: 2018
Funded by: Other...
Other funding: Global Food Security

Understanding diet behaviour within the context of the modern food environment
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $39,850
Year Funded: 2011
Duration: 2
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research