Lynn’s Biography

Lynn Todman is an author, speaker, researcher, and thought leader committed to influencing what matters to community health. Lynn’s career has focused on identifying and addressing the social and economic factors that undermine the welfare of urban communities.

 Currently, Lynn is the Executive Director for Population Health at Lakeland Health System in St. Joseph, Michigan. In her role, Lynn is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the hospital system to improve the health of the regional population and to reduce health disparities. Lynn is also a Research Affiliate at Community Innovators Laboratory (CoLab) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In addition, Lynn continues to contribute her expertise in a variety of on-going projects that support community health initiatives. Her most recent research examines the relationship between urban food deserts and community violence. Based on clinical investigations conducted by nutritional neuroscientists that show strong associations between diet and a range of anti-social behaviors, including violence and aggression, Lynn’s working hypothesis is that the American diet may play an important, but overlooked, role in community dysfunction, including high rates of educational failure, unemployment, poverty and incarceration. To test her hypothesis, Lynn led a transdisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists, cooks, exercise physiologists, school teachers and administrators, a supply chain expert, and a meal transport agency in the implementation of a community-based intervention that aimed to determine the extent to which changes in the diets of adolescents with serious academic and behavioral challenges may lead to improved academic and behavioral outcomes.

 Prior to her role at Lakeland Health System, Lynn was Vice President for Leadership in Social Justice and Executive Director of the Institute on Social Exclusion at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. At Adler, her work drew from diverse fields such as economics, political science, sociology, public health, psychology, anthropology, nutrition sciences, human development, and systems’ dynamics to identify and address the myriad social factors that impact emotional wellbeing and shape mental health outcomes. 

 Lynn earned a B.A. from Wellesley College, and a Master’s in City Planning (M.C.P) and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.