Melissa L. Horning, PhD, RN, PHN

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Melissa L. Horning

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-624-1947

Office Address:
6-138G Weaver-Densford Hall

Mailing Address:
School of Nursing
University of Minnesota
5-140 Weaver-Densford Hall
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

PhD, Nursing, Minor: Public Health, University of Minnesota, 2015

BS, Nursing, College of St. Benedict, 2006


Professional Associations


Research Summary/Interests

  • Community-engaged, health promotion research with children, youth and families
  • Social ecological influences on adolescent health behaviors and nutrition
  • Public health nursing

Research Funding Grants


National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Community Food Project Competitive Grants Program NIFA2017-0275 Porter (Project Director) 2017-2021 Twin Cities Mobile Market Expansion Award Amount: $396,372 + $396,372 match Purpose: Increase the number of residents of the Twin Cities with access to the Twin Cities Mobile Market and evaluate the impact of the expansion using shopper intercept surveys. Role: Sub-contract PI of the Research, Co-Investigator of project

Stratis Health – Building Healthier Communities Award 2018-2019 Horning (PI) East Side Table Research Program Evaluation Partnership Award amount requested: $20,250 Purpose: Pilot-test using Community Based Participator Research methods the impact of the East Side Table Make-at-Home-Meal-Kit program designed to increase healthy food access, affordability, food skills, and dietary quality.

National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health R01: Fulkerson (PI) 2016-2020 

New Ulm at Home (NU-HOME) Purpose: To test the effectiveness of the NU-HOME program, a family-based health promotion intervention to prevent excess weight gain among 7-10 year old children. Role: Co-Investigator

Interdisciplinary Studies in Writing, Center for Writing Horning (PI) 2016-2017 Do Authentic Writing Environments in Nursing (AWE in Nursing) improve nursing student learning outcomes? Purpose: To evaluate whether implementation of an authentic written capstone project, one that mirrors future career responsibilities, enhances student learning outcomes and engagement in nursing students.

Internal Sources

Healthy Eating and Active Living Across the Lifespan Center Horning (PI) 2017-2018 Promoting Community HEALth Where People Live through a Community-Based Participatory Research Project: Phase 2 Award Amount: $14,470 Purpose: To engage with St. Paul Public Housing Authority to plan, develop and test an initiative to integrate healthy eating and active living policy, systems and environmental intervention in a public housing site.

Grant-in-Aid Horning (PI) 2017-2018 Formative Community-Based Participatory Evaluation Research of the Impact of the Twin Cities Mobile Market Award Amount: $37,600 Purpose: Engage with Twin Cities Mobile Market shoppers to finalize the research design and processes using focus groups and test the feasibility of using the shopper-informed research design to collect formative data from Twin Cities Mobile Market English-speaking shoppers (n=80 focus group; n=60 survey).


University of Minnesota Foundation Fulkerson (PI) 2014-2017 Parents and Kids Prevent Diabetes Purpose: Develop and pilot test a family-focused Type II diabetes prevention program for children at-risk for diabetes. Role: Co-Investigator (2016-2017)

National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health R01DK08400: Fulkerson (PI) 2010-2016 Annual Direct costs: $426,000 Study: Health Home Offerings via the Mealtime Environment (HOME) Plus Project Purpose: To test the efficacy of a family-based obesity prevention program with families of school-age children. Role: Co-Investigator (2015-2016)

National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research F31NR014748: Horning (PI) 2014-2015 Total direct costs: $40,770 Study: Child and Parent Influences on Food Choices and Purchasing: Contributions to Obesity Purpose: Secondary analysis of HOME Plus study data to investigate multilevel influences on parent and child food purchases using a social ecological framework (dissertation). Role: Principal Investigator. Research Sponsors: Jayne A. Fulkerson, PhD; Mary Story, PhD


Published Refereed Journal Articles

Horning, M. L., Olsen, J. M., Lell, S.**, Thorson, D., & Monsen, K. (Accepted 2018). Description of Public Health Nursing Nutrition Assessment and Interventions for Home-Visited Clients. Public Health Nursing.

Myers, M., Fulkerson, J. A., Friend, S., Flattum, C., & Horning, M. L. (Accepted 2018). Case-study of behavior changes in two successful HOME Plus study families: A family focused, community-based childhood obesity prevention program. Public Health Nursing.

Olsen, J., Horning, M. L.,Thorson, D. & Monsen, K. (2018). Relationships between Public Health Nurse-Delivered Physical Activity Interventions and Client Physical Activity Behavior. Applied Nursing Research. 40, 13-19. doi:10.1016/j.apnr.2017.12.005.

Fulkerson, J. A., Friend, S., Horning, M. Flattum, C., Draxten, M. . . . Kubik, M. (2018). Family home food environment and nutrition-related parent and child personal and behavioral outcomes of the HOME Plus study: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 118(2), 240-251. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2017.04.006

Horning, M. L., Liden, G. & McMorris, B. J. (2017). Sprouting seeds of connectedness: Associations between gardening and cooking skills and youth connections to peers, adults, and community. Children Youth and the Environment. 27(1). doi:10.7721/chilyoutenvi.27.1.0001

Horning, M., Schow, R., Friend, S. E., Loth, K. A., Neumark-Sztainer, & D. Fulkerson, J. A. (2017). Family dinner frequency interacts with dinnertime context in associations with weight outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology. 31(7), 945. doi:10.1037/fam0000330

Loth, K. A., Horning, M., Friend, S. E., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Fulkerson, J. A. (2017). An Exploration of How Family Dinners Are Served and How Service Style Is Associated With Dietary and Weight Outcomes in Children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 49(6), 513-518 doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2017.03.003

Horning, M. L., Fulkerson, J. A., Friend, S. E., & Story, M. (2017). Reasons parents buy prepackaged, processed meals: It is more complicated than “I don’t have time.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 49(1), 60-66 doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2016.08.012.

Loth, K. A., Friend, S. E., Horning, M. Fulkerson, J. A., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2016). Directive and non-directive food-related parenting practices: Associations between an expanded conceptualization of food-related parenting practices and child dietary intake and weight outcomes. Appetite. 107, 188-195. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.07.036

Horning, M. L., Fulkerson, J. A. & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2016). Associations between nine family dinner frequency measures and child weight, dietary and psychosocial outcomes. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 116(6):991-999. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.018

Fulkerson, J. A., Friend, S., Flattum, C., Horning, M. Draxten, M. . . . Kubik, M. (2015). Promoting healthful family meals to prevent childhood obesity: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of the Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 12(154), 1-12. doi:10.1186/s12966-015-0320-3

Flattum, C. F., Draxten, M., Horning, M. L., Fulkerson, J, Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Story, M. (2015). HOME Plus: Program design and implementation of a family-focused, community-based intervention to promote the frequency and healthfulness of family meals, reduce children’s sedentary behavior, and prevent obesity. International Journal for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 12(53),1-9. doi:1186/s12966-015- 0211-7.

Horning, M. L., & Fulkerson, J. A. (2015). A systematic review on the affordability of a healthful diet for families in the United States. Public Health Nursing. 32(1), 68-80. doi:10.1111/phn.12145.

Fulkerson, J. A., Larson, N. I., Horning, M. L., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2014). A review of associations between family or shared meal frequency and dietary and weight status outcomes across the lifespan. Journal of Nutrition, Education, and Behavior, 46, 2-19. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2013.07.012

Horning, M. L., &Braun, C. (2006). The lived experience of families who are told their child will die at or shortly after birth. Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship. 8(1), 1-5.


Board Certifications

Minnesota Board of Nursing Registered Nursing License 2006-Present

Public Health Nurse 2006-Present