Food Insecurity‎ > ‎

Food Insecurity Bios

Program Moderators & Facilitator 

Donna M. Corrado, Ph.D. began her social work career at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Brooklyn in 1992. In her 22 plus years with the agency, she held roles as Program Manager, Associate Director of Aging Services, Director of the Office of Government Relations and Public Policy, and Chief Operating Officer. She provided leadership oversight to CCNS’ 180 programs throughout Brooklyn & Queens, serving vulnerable populations including persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, youth, children, persons with mental illness, the homeless, persons with HIV/AIDs, and older adults. On February 18, 2014, she was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as Commissioner for DFTA. 

Barbara Turk, M.Div. is the Director of Food Policy for NYC, in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. Prior to her appointment in April 2014, she was a Senior Fellow at Community Resource Exchange, where she also served for several years on the board of directors. Before joining CRE in 2007,  Ms. Turk was the Executive Director of the YWCA of Brooklyn. She was also Director of HIV CARE Services for the Medical and Health Research Association (now Public Health Solutions), where she and her colleagues administered federal grant funds to NYC for services for people living with HIV and AIDS. Prior to this, she spent almost ten years in city government, as a policy advisor to City Council President Carol Bellamy and Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins, and then Deputy Director for Health and Human Services in the Office of Management and Budget under Mayor Dinkins.

Robert Stephens  holds a master's degree in social work and has been working in the field of aging for 35 years.  Mr. Stephens is currently the Director of Organization Development and Strategic Initiatives for the NYC Department for the Aging.  In this capacity, he has designed and facilitated many City and DFTA stakeholder input events over the last twelve years including the City’s Modernization Summit for Aging Services in NYC and the Department’s Citywide White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) Mini-Conference that synthesized the work of over 30 smaller WHCoA conferences.


Peter S. Arno is a health economist and a Distinguished Fellow at the City University of New York Institute for Health Equity. He was the founding director of the Center for Long Term Care Research & Policy when this study began. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare Foundation. His book with Karyn Feiden, Against the Odds: The Story of AIDS Drug Development, Politics & Profits, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His recent work includes studies on food insecurity among the elderly, the impact of income support policies on population health, the economics of long-term care; and regulation and pricing practices of the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Arno has testified before numerous U.S. House and Senate committees. 

Bob Blancato is the National Coordinator of the bipartisan 3000-member Elder Justice Coalition as well as Executive Director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. He has more than 20 years of federal government service in Congress and the Executive branch, including 13 years on the senior staff of the House Select Committee on Aging and an appointment by President Clinton to be Executive Director of the 1995 White House Conference on Aging. Currently, Mr. Blancato is in volunteer leadership roles with top national aging groups including serving as AARP State President in Virginia, a member of the Board and Executive Committee for the American Society on Aging, and a member of the Board of the National Council on Aging. He holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MPA from American University. Bob has won numerous awards for advocacy and in 2011 was knighted by the Italian Republic for his commitment to the relationship between the U.S. and Italy.

Craig Gundersen is the lead researcher on the Map of the Meal Gap project and a member of the Technical Advisory Group of Feeding America.  His research is primarily focused on the causes and consequences of food insecurity and on evaluations of food assistance programs.  Among other journals, he has published in Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Econometrics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Nutrition, Pediatrics, Demography, Obesity Reviews, Journal of American Dietetic Association, and American Journal of Public Health.  His work has been supported by over $10 million in external funding from various government and non-government sources.

Stephan Russo is an expert in the management and delivery of human services and a leader in the settlement house field. His roots run deep at Goddard Riverside, a highly regarded settlement house, at which he began as a youth outreach worker and became Executive Director in 1998. For a brief stint from 1993-1996, Mr. Russo served as Assistant Commissioner in the newly created NYC Department of Homeless Services. He has also worked as a consultant to organizations operating supportive housing, helped found the SRO Providers Group in 1989—which later became the Supportive Housing Network of New York—and been a Lecturer and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Social Work, where he completed his Master of Science degree in 1980.

Elaine Waxman recently oversaw the completion of Hunger in America 2014, the largest study ever conducted of emergency food assistance in the U.S. She also directed the completion of Hunger in America 2010 and the Map the Meal Gap project, which provides the first county-level estimates of food insecurity in the U.S. Dr. Waxman has over 25 years of experience in social policy research and consulting. She is a lecturer and field supervisor for the School of Social Service Administration at The University of Chicago, where she also received her Ph.D. Her research interests include the intersection of food insecurity and public health, the nature of low-wage work and place-based anti-poverty initiatives.