Food Security or Food Justice: Does it Really Matter?


Date, Location

Karika Phillips, MA
Kalamazoo County Center for Health Equity

At the conclusion of this presentation participants will be able to: (1) understand geographically the difference between “disparity” and “inequity” for food security (2) critically examine and evaluate the social determinants of health, utilizing GIS mapping (3) translate these insights into application and serve the public through the promotion of optimal nutrition, health and well-being.


About Karika


Karika A. Phillips, MA

Karika A. Phillips, MA works for the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department (local health department) as the Director of the Center for Health Equity (CHE) and Supervisor of the Community Action Agency (CAA). The CHE is responsible for building community capacity to improve health equity as a cross-disciplinary collaborative model for education, awareness, policy influence and technical assistance.  The Center for Health Equity explores why certain populations bear a disproportionate burden of disease and mortality in Kalamazoo County, MI.

Karika’s charge is to monitor social and health inequities by addressing the fundamental causes and barriers to health. Health disparities are focused on asthma, diabetes, cancer, premature death, infant mortality, low birth rates, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and sexually transmitted infections, and the social determinants of health.

Karika is currently a PhD student at Western Michigan University in Educational Leadership, in a hybrid program of study: Higher Education and Organizational Analysis. Karika attended Kalamazoo Public Schools & is a graduate of KVCC and Western Michigan University. She holds a Masters Degree is in U. S. History with a specialization in slavery, reconstruction, the civil rights movement and Caribbean women’s history.  At WMU, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Black Americana Studies and earned an Associate’s degree from Kalamazoo valley Community College.

Trained as a sociologist and historian she utilizes mixed methods research to examine the socio-cultural context of health and health disparities, with a concentration in community-engaged research. Karika taught history at KVCC part-time for 7 years and has over 16 years of experience as a public speaker and educator.