U-M School of Public Health Scholarship Stories: Noam Kimelman

Scholarship Stories


Creating Access to Healthy Food

In his last year at SPH, Noam Kimelman, MPH ’12, launched his own business, Fresh Corner Café, which today brings healthy food to over 25 small-scale retailers throughout Detroit.

SPH Degree Program

M.P.H. in Health Management and Policy


Boston, Massachusetts

SPH Scholarship

S.J. Axelrod/Eudgene Feingold Memorial Scholarship: This annual scholarship assists economically disadvantaged students who demonstrate academic excellence and the values of helping the underserved.

Current Job

Co-founder and owner of Fresh Corner Cafe, Detroit, Michigan. We work with corner store gas stations and small-scale retailers to develop a sustainable distribution model that can continually increase access to quality healthy food in Detroit. We launched the company in 2011 and now have 25 stores across the city and sell around 600 wraps and salads a week, in addition to fruit cups and yogurt parfaits. Everything costs around $5.

Chief Business Competition

Twelve-inch hoagies that last three weeks and are loaded with beef and no vegetables.

Best Customer Comment

The 70-year-old African-American man who told me, “I tried your chicken caesar sandwich the other day and realized I’ve been eating wrong my entire life.” That totally made my day.

Best Thing About Detroit

Community. Mission brought me into Detroit, but it’s definitely the community that keeps me here—a group of like-minded people who are passionate about social change. There’s this persistent conversation about how we can improve things for everyone. It’s wonderful.

How Scholarships Make the Difference

During my first two years at SPH, I taught as a graduate student instructor. A scholarship covered my last semester at SPH, so I didn’t have to teach and could focus on my business in Detroit. I fell in love with the city and commuted to Ann Arbor for class. Without the scholarship, I couldn’t have started my own business.

Most Useful SPH Lesson

My training at SPH gave me a basis for public health in general, for understanding that health issues extend way beyond treatment. Proactive prevention is incredibly important. It highlighted the importance of food, which is an obvious piece of prevention and good health.

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