Global Public Health Sciences

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins) is delighted to partner with Cornell’s GPHS major to provide multiple experiential learning opportunities for students who are passionate about public health. Our Association offices in downtown Ithaca are part of the statewide Cornell Cooperative Extension system and we have about 50-100 Cornell interns working with us in the community every year. Our mission is to work for the whole community, tackling health disparities across spectrums of diversity and enhancing the social well-being of Tompkins County residents (including Cornell students!). These projects, opportunities and ongoing research questions include:

Nutrition and Food Security

We have a number of nutrition education projects and we welcome research asking, "Does it work? When and why?"  In terms of tackling obesity we have multiple programs addressing health disparities from a socio-ecological viewpoint.. In general, across our healthy eating programming we are inquiring after the real causes of obesity, and what can we do about them.

We also have a significant number of projects around food security and strengthening the local food system in an equitable way. These include farm to table/school, food waste, working with organizations dedicated to supporting local farmers, interviewing and video projects, food entrepreneurship for low-income entrepreneurs, and improving Cornell’s local food sourcing.

Prenatal and Postnatal

A survey of access and availability to prenatal and immediate postnatal care as well as a determination of action steps to improve that. How is that working out for moms and fathers? And how about for those in non-heteronormative or other often marginalized parenting relationships such as those around incarceration? How can we support children aged 0-5 from a public health perspective?


CCE-Tompkins currently supports a number of projects relating to lack of transportation and its impact on health, both mental and general.

A quote from one of our staff: “Working in mobility management is not simply about increasing the number of transportation services that exist, but increasing peoples’ overall quality of life. A lot of other organizations in other sectors can get behind increasing quality of life, but transportation is not their primary concern. For example, health care professionals are obviously looking to get the best health outcomes for their clients, but there is little help for patients to get to their necessary appointments, and it can be very easy to fall behind on preventative care.”

How can shared and active transportation options increase fitness, social environmental connections, improve connections to nature and people, and strengthen familial and other support systems? And what kinds of infrastructure changes are optimal here?

How is our environment impacted by transportation-related pollutants, emissions, congestion, as well as infrastructure such as parking lots and roads?

4-H and Positive Youth Development

The O.U.R.S. and Y.O.U.R.S. program is helping and mentoring often under-resourced children and youth from mobile home parks; after-school and morning programs in Ithaca aimed at helping immigrants and refugees. What does it mean to foster positive healthy development among the young? For that to happen what would need to be in place in our (or any) programs that work with children and youth, (including at-risk populations)?

Community Organizing

An ongoing reflection at CCE-Tompkins on how to work with a community, for example, around a health project. What does that involve in the messy real world? What do you need to know and do to get things done in a just and effective way?

Contact Us

Your on-site and community-based work will be supervised by a variety of professionals who are members of our staff and who work for the health of our local community. If you would like to have a preliminary chat about what we do at CCE-Tompkins and how you might get involved please feel free to contact Chris at the info listed below.


Christopher Kai-Jones
Nutrition, Health, Safety & Financial Education Program Leader
(607) 272-2292 ext. 135

Last updated September 11, 2023