Parker, MPH, PhD, Kathryn | Louisiana Public Broadcasting
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Kathryn Parker, MPH, PhD, Market Umbrella

Kathryn Parker, MPH, PhD

Market Umbrella

Dr. Kathryn Parker is the Executive Director of Market Umbrella. Formerly known as the Economics Institute, Market Umbrella, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, began with a simple mission: to promote ecologically sound economic development in the Greater New Orleans area, particularly among family farmers and other local agricultural enterprises. From that simple mission, Market Umbrella has expanded to become a mentor for public markets throughout the region and the nation. We have developed tools that other markets use to measure their economic impact, created workshops where organizers develop funding strategies and best practices, and launched a number of programs that target specific agriculturally based enterprises and communities lacking access to fresh food.

Kate was born and raised in the Boston area, but as they say, she got here as soon as she could. She moved to New Orleans straight out of Suffolk University in 1997 to teach in the public schools of St. John the Baptist Parish. In 1999, she began teaching eighth-grade math at New Orleans Charter Middle School, the first charter school in New Orleans, and one of the few bright spots in what was at the time a deeply troubled school system. Realizing that lack of nutrition was one of the obstacles her students faced in realizing their potential, she began pursuing a master's degree in public health at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, receiving her degree in 2006. She also began working at Tulane's Prevention Research Center, where she focused on issues such as improving access to fresh foods and cultivating places to walk and bike within the city.

Her work researching the city's bike lanes became the basis of several articles she published in medical journals and her dissertation; she received her doctorate from Tulane in the spring of 2013. She joined in December. Kate lives in Mid-City with her three sons and “SPCA Special” pup, Margie. She loves baseball, strong coffee from a French press, riding her BMW 650 GS, and going to the market. If you see her, say hi!