Amy Saxe-Custack, PhD, MPH, RDN

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Assistant Professor, Fixed Term

Dr. Saxe-Custack is a Registered Dietitian and Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University. She received an MPH in Human Nutrition at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and, after an impressive career with Dole Food Company and USDA, Dr. Saxe-Custack completed a PhD in Human Nutrition at Michigan State University. She currently serves as the Nutrition Director for the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a joint effort between Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital, to address the impact of Flint’s population-wide lead exposure on children.

A long-time resident of the Flint community, Dr. Saxe-Custack is dedicated to the evaluation and expansion of nutrition programs that target children and families living in Flint, with a particular focus on improving access to fresh foods. Much of her work has been initiated in partnership with the Flint Farmers’ Market and Hurley Children’s Center to examine the impact of an innovative fruit and vegetable prescription program for pediatric patients. Through recent grant awards, Dr. Saxe-Custack is working with community partners to expand and evaluate both the fruit and vegetable prescription program as well as an experiential nutrition and cooking program for Flint children, Flint Kids Cook.


Selected Publications:

Saxe-Custack A, LaChance J, Jess J, Hanna-Attisha M. (2021). Influence of a pediatric fruit and vegetable prescription program on child dietary patterns and food security. Nutrients. 2021, 13, 2619.

Saxe-Custack A, Goldsworthy M, Lofton HC, Hanna-Attisha M, Nweke O. Family Perceptions of a Cooking and Nutrition Program for Low-Income Children and Adolescents. Global Pediatric Health. January 2021. doi:10.1177/2333794X21989525

Saxe-Custack, A.; LaChance, J.; Hanna-Attisha, M.; Dawson, C. Flint Kids Cook: Positive Influence of a Farmers’ Market Cooking and Nutrition Program on Health-Related Quality of Life of US Children in a Low-Income, Urban Community. Public Health Nutrition. 2020, 10, 08. DOI:

Saxe-Custack A, Sadler R, LaChance J, Hanna-Attisha M, Ceja T. Participation in a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program for Pediatric Patients is Positively Associated with Farmers' Market Shopping. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 12;17(12): E4202. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17124202. PMID: 32545578

Saxe-Custack, A.; LaChance, J.; Hanna-Attisha, M. Child Consumption of Whole Fruit and Fruit Juice Following Six Months of Exposure to a Pediatric Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program. Nutrients 202012, 25.

Saxe-Custack A, Lofton HC, Hanna-Attisha M, Tata Z, Ceja T, LaChance J. Caregiver Experiences With an Innovative Farmers' Market Incentive Program for Children in Flint, Michigan. Glob Pediatr Health. 2019;6:2333794X19870989. doi: 10.1177/2333794X19870989. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31489342; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6712753.

Saxe-Custack A, Kerver JM, Mphwanthe G, Weatherspoon L. Participant experiences in a paraprofessional-led weight management program for children and families. Sage Open Medicine. 2019 Jul 12;7:2050312119863920. doi: 10.1177/2050312119863920. eCollection 2019.

Saxe-Custack A, LaChance J, Hanna-Attisha M, Ceja T. Fruit and vegetable prescriptions for pediatric patients living in Flint, Michigan: A cross-sectional study of food security and dietary patterns at baseline. Nutrients. 2019; 11(6):1423.

Saxe-Custack A, Hanna-Attisha M, Zvoch K. Fruit and vegetable prescriptions for pediatric patients in Flint, Michigan: Program development, methods, and baseline characteristics. Current Developments in Nutrition. 2019 June 13; 3(Suppl 1).

Saxe-Custack A, Lofton H, Hanna-Attisha M, Victor C, Reyes G, Ceja T, LaChance J. Caregiver perceptions of a fruit and vegetable prescription program for low-income pediatric patients. Public Health Nutrition. 2018. 21(13):2497-2506.

Saxe-Custack A, Weatherspoon L. A qualitative assessment of self-management priorities among persons with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2014. 46(4):S186.

Research Projects:

Michigan Health Endowment Fund 
09/01/2021 to 08/31/2023
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding amount: $482,323
Expansion of Produce Prescriptions: A Prenatal Pilot
Prior research supports the efficacy of a pediatric fruit and vegetable prescription program (FVPP) that provides one $15 prescription to all patients at each office visit in reaching the Flint demographic to successfully reduce food insecurity and improve dietary intake. Recognizing that nutrition education and security must start as early as possible and that early childhood habits portend adult health, this new two-year proposed project expands our evidence-based FVPP to the prenatal population. This prenatal pilot program will start in one large Flint obstetric clinic, the Hurley Women’s Health Center, with the long-term goal of widespread adoption across Flint and Genesee County.

Stephanie and David Spina Family Foundation 
01/01/2021 to 12/31/2021
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding amount: $106,000
Development of a Virtual Nutrition and Cooking Program for Children
The goal of this project is to develop and implement a modified version of Flint Kids Cook, a successful cooking and nutrition program for children and adolescents, to be taught virtually. This modified program, Flint Families Cook, was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and intended to engage families in preparing healthy recipes while in the safety of their homes. Flint Families Cook will be piloted in partnership with Flint Fresh, a local mobile market that will deliver food boxes each week.

Michigan Health Endowment Fund                                                                         
09/01/2020 to 08/31/2022 
Role: Principal Investigator 
Long-term Impact of a Pediatric Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program 
The goal of the project is to investigate the influence of a year-round pediatric fruit and vegetable prescription program (FVPP) on dietary patterns and food security among a sample of low-income children who have been exposed to the program for a period of three years. Previous research demonstrated the feasibility and preliminary program effectiveness.

09/01/2020 to 08/31/2023
Role: Principal Investigator 
Innovative Nutrition Practices in Pediatric Health Care: Assessment of a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program for Children in Need 
The goal of the project is to assess the influence of pediatric fruit and vegetable prescription programs (FVPP) on food security, child dietary patterns, and weight status. To do this, we will compare demographically similar pediatric patient groups from three large urban clinics based on their exposure to an FVPP: high exposure (>24 months), moderate exposure (12-24 months), and no previous exposure. We will then introduce the FVPP to never exposed patients and collect, record, and compare changes in dietary intake, food security, and weight status over time. Results will provide novel knowledge regarding the role of pediatric FVPP in addressing persistent barriers to access and affordability of fresh produce. 


Selected Media Coverage:

Flint Beat: Flint Families Learn How to Cook Lead-mitigating Meals from a Pro Chef

PBS News Hour: Flint Fights Lead Poisoning with Farmers Markets and Cooking Classes

U.S. News: Innovative Hub Feeds the Need for Fresh Produce in Flint 

Cooking Light: Children are receiving prescriptions for fresh fruit and produce from their doctors

MSUToday: Flint inspires national nutrition prescription program in U.S. Farm Bill

Stateside, Michigan Radio NPR: Kids leave this Flint doctor’s office with a prescription for fruits and veggies

Michigan Good Food Fund: Food is helping Flint recover and reimagine itself

Today's Dietician: Fruit and veggie prescriptions encourage healthful eating in children

Flint Side: Prescriptions for nutrition: How culinary medicine is advancing health equity in Michigan

Research at MSU: MSU scientists improve health for children, seniors through better nutrition

MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Flint Kids Cook - - MSU community collaborations

Gizmodo: After the water crisis, Thanksgiving in Flint is about healing

To schedule an appointment or request a comprehensive CV summarizing Dr. Saxe-Custack's achievements email her at




Scholarly Interests

    Role of lifestyle and ecological factors in the risk, prevention and management of diet-related health disparities and chronic diseases. Special interest in pediatric nutrition, including access to fresh foods.




    Doctorate in Human Nutrition,
    Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
    Michigan State University,
    East Lansing

    Dietetic Internship,
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    Master of Public Health in Human Nutrition, School of Public Health
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
    Michigan State University,
    East Lansing