Research Director, San Diego Hunger Coalition
Heidi Gjertsen, Ph.D., Research Director, leads research that helps San Diego Hunger Coalition generate the foundational knowledge and data needed to build a San Diego County where no one has to go to bed hungry. Heidi investigates topics such as utilization of CalFresh and youth meal programs, in order to identify systemic barriers to food access and the most promising solutions to hunger. The results of this research are the backbone of Hunger Free San Diego, a regional collaborative planning effort to end hunger in our region. Heidi brings a passion for improving lives through science and over a decade of international research experience to the San Diego Hunger Coalition. In her work with fishing and farming communities, she evaluated performance and impacts of conservation strategies and developed incentives and strategies for conservation and economic development. Heidi has trained and led international research teams throughout Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. As a contractor for the U.S. Department of Commerce, she assessed the cost-effectiveness of domestic and international programs. Her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and reports. Heidi has also served on graduate student thesis committees and taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UC San Diego. Heidi received her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University and her bachelor’s degree in environment and resource studies from the University of Waterloo.