Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Photo of Lofton, Saria

Saria Lofton, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor

Population Health Nursing Science


Building & Room:

1046 NURS


845 S. Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:



Dr. Saria Lofton is a health disparities nurse researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the College of Nursing. She is deeply committed to research focused on health promotion in the Black community, locally and internationally. Dr. Lofton uses a community-based participatory research approach to identify and leverage community assets while building local capacities. Her work has recently focused on understanding local food environments as essential in addressing chronic disease risk inequities for Black American youth and adults. Dr. Lofton has received internal funding to investigate urban agriculture in Black communities through the lens of community gardeners and farmers throughout Chicago. She has also received external funding through the NIH National Institute of Nursing Research to examine community-level factors that influence HIV risk behaviors in Malawi youth. In her current research project, funded by the Center of Health Equity Chicago, Dr. Lofton builds upon the work she conducted with urban growers in urban agriculture. Dr. Lofton will be conducting formative research on building capacity for community-based food systems while utilizing a food sovereignty framework to improve access to healthy foods for residents of chronically underserved predominantly Black communities. Dr. Lofton’s long term research interests involve developing a multi-level, multi-component food system intervention that will address food insecurity inequities in the Black population and increase the dietary intake of fruits and vegetables of Black American residents living in predominantly Black communities.

Selected Grants

Chicago Health Equity Research Chicago, Examining food access in Chicago’s Black communities: A Collaborative process to transform the local food system, Principal Investigator

SUNY Foundation, Understanding Barriers and Facilitators towards participating in a Food Is Medicine intervention for Black women with stage 1 hypertension, Principal Investigator

University of Illinois PACT, Grow Your Groceries Evaluation, Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

Lofton, S., Norr, K., Patil, C., Jere, D., & Banda, C. (2020). Developing action plans in Youth Photovoice to address community-level HIV risk in rural Malawi. International Journal of Qualitative Methods.


Lofton, S., Kersten, M., Simonovich, S. D., & Martin, A. (2021). Mutual aid organisations and their role in reducing food insecurity in Chicago’s urban communities during COVID-19. Public Health Nutrition, 1-4.


Rush University, PhD in Nursing Science, 2015