Martin Holmes

PhD candidate, Public Health and Health Systems

Martin Holmes


PhD Public Health and Health Systems, 2019-2023


Sharon Kirkpatrick

My thesis

My thesis focuses on food literacy, the knowledge, skills, and confidence to navigate the modern food environment. I am fortunate to collaborate with a team of public health dietitians who have spent a decade conceptualizing food literacy to inform a measure for use with young adults in Ontario. My research furthers their efforts by providing evidence about the measure’s validity, creating a shortened version, and exploring associations between food literacy and factors such as dietary quality. I collected data from close to 500 post-secondary students across Ontario, extending my knowledge related to the ethics clearance process, survey development and implementation, and data cleaning. To conduct my analyses, I am developing skills in structural equation modeling and Item Response Theory. My work is supported by my participation in the tri-council agency-funded SMART training platform focused on implementation science. A better understanding of food literacy among young adults can inform interventions to improve dietary patterns and practices to improve health, now and through the lifespan.

My time in the School of Public Health Sciences

The pandemic caused my time in School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS) to be disrupted, but the School continued to include students at a distance in the academic community. The Public Health Nutrition team, under Dr. Kirkpatrick’s leadership, has worked hard to cultivate a supportive, collegial environment to learn and grow as researchers. I am always inspired by the work that the faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students of SPHS contribute to local and global public health. I’ll fondly remember seeing my friends in the program enjoy successes and sharing in those moments with them.

What is one nutrition fact or tip you would like to share in celebration of Nutrition Month?

It is wise to understand and be thoughtful about the many barriers to healthy eating before giving tips. Beyond that, drink more water.

Links to external resources, Ontario Dietitians in Public Health