Positions

Research Nutritionist
USDA-ARS
Children’s Nutrition Research Center
Houston, Texas, United States
Professor
Pediatrics-Nutrition
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US
Research Member
Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States
Faculty Member
Biomedical Research Base
Baylor Diabetes Research Center
Houston, Texas, United States
Adjunct Faculty
University of Texas School of Public Health
Houston, Texas, United States
Faculty Affiliate
Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Urban Health Program
Rice University
Houston, Texas, United States
Conjoint Associate Professor
University of Newcastle
New South Wales, Callaghan, Australia

Education

PhD from University of New Orleans
Curriculum & Instruction, Human Performance & Health Promotion
MS from University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Nutrition
BS from University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Nutrition

Certifications

Marketing Communications Certification
University of Houston
Focus Group Moderator Training, Richard Kreuger
University of South Florida

Honors & Awards

Associate Editor – Qualitative Methods
Co-Guest Editor
Special issue on using eHealth for nutrition assessment and intervention.
Visiting Scholar
Founding Member, Board of Associate Editors
NIH Study Section Member
Fellow
Co-Editor
Finalist, Future Leader Award

Professional Interests

  • Behavioral Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Obesity Prevention
  • Diabetes Prevention/Management
  • Behavioral Theory
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Technology

Professional Statement

My research focuses on three separate but related, areas: the design, development, and evaluation of digital media (e.g., web-based programs; video games); health message design; and theory and measurement of youth diet and physical activity behavior. All three research areas emphasize youth obesity prevention through the promotion of positive behaviors, such as consuming more fruit, vegetables, and water and being more physically active and less physically inactive.

Selected Publications

Memberships

American College of Sports Medicine
American Dietetic Association/Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Society of Behavioral Medicine

Funding

Childhood Eating Behaviors: Prevention of Childhood Obesity and Chronic Diseases
- #3092-5-001-058
Grant funding from USDA ARS
The purpose of this research is to understand mechanisms of behaviors related to youth diet and physical activity behaviors and to develop and test innovative methods of promoting youth obesity prevention.
Using Technology to Prevent Obesity Among African American Girls
- #1R01 MD005814
Grant funding from NIH NIMHD
The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of a promising internet-based obesity prevention program for at-risk 8-10 year old African American girls entitled Food, Fun, & Fitness Internet Program for Girls.
USDA Center for WIC Nutrition Education Innovations
- #WIC NEI-12-TX
Grant funding from USDA
The USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) proposes to create the USDA Center for WIC Nutrition Education Innovations (CNRC WIC Center). The CNRC WIC Center will work cooperatively with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to develop and administer the competitive process to solicit, evaluate, and fund researcher-initiated innovative WIC nutrition education projects to improve target behaviors.
Video Games for Obesity & Diabetes Prevention: Efficacy Trial
- #1R01 DK091254
Grant funding from NIH-NIDDK
This grant proposes to test whether two video games (developed with earlier NIH funding) increase children's healthier diet, physical activity and inactivity practices.
Mentoring Behavioral Scientists for Career Development in Pediatric T1D Research
- #K01 DK097696
Grant funding from NIH-NIDDK
This grant proposes to mentor young scientists in pediatric T1D research careers.
Feasibility Study of Avatar Customization and Relatedness on Physical Activity
- #R21 HD075048
Grant funding from NIH-NIDDK
Specifically, this research will work with youth to develop an immersive virtual reality game to be played via natural human computer interfaces, develop a system for creating highly self-representational avatars, develop an algorithm to unobtrusively measure PA during game-play, and conduct a pilot study to assess the feasibility of these components.
Black College Students, Health Disparities & Disease Prevention Practices
- #1 R21NR014149-01A1
Grant funding from NIH NINR
This study will assess the social networks of African-American students attending a Historically Black College/University, and examine the flow of health-related behaviors, attitudes, support, and information across their social networks which may help in addressing health disparities among African-Americans, and investigate whether prevention programs can be disseminated via the college to student social networks.