Positions

Assistant Professor
Pediatrics-Nutrition
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US
Research Member
Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Houston, Texas, United States

Education

BA from Tulane University
Psychology
MA from Louisiana State University
Clinical Psychology
PhD from Louisiana State University
Clinical Psyhcology
Internship at Baylor College of Medicine
Pediatric Psychology
Postdoctoral Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine
Pediatric Psychology

Professional Interests

  • Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity
  • Summer Weight Gain
  • Sleep
  • Circadian and Circannual rhythms
  • Behavioral Interventions

Professional Statement

My previous research has demonstrated that children increase their weight status (standardized BMI) at a faster rate during the summer compared to the school year, contributing to increases in the rates of overweight and obesity among elementary school age children. I am particularly interested in using the school summer paradigm as a way to identify novel determinants of childhood obesity to develop innovative interventions for the prevention of obesity in children. My current research focuses on the role of circadian and circannual rhythms (i.e., daily and annual biological rhythms) in the seasonal variation of children's growth and their contribution to the development of obesity in children.

Selected Publications

Memberships

Society of Behavioral Medicine
Sleep Research Society
Society for Research on Biological Rhythms
Pediatric Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association- Division 54

Funding

Understanding Childhood Obesity
Mullen Foundation
This mixed methods study explored causes of summertime increases in standardized body mass index in children.
Differences in Children’s Sleep and Circadian Rhythms during the School Year and Summer Vacation
Grant funding from Texas Children's Pediatric Pilot Research Fund
This research proposes to examine differences in children’s sleep habits and behavioral rhythms during the summer and school year and the association with children’s weight status.
The i♥rhythm project: Healthy sleep and behavioral rhythms for obesity prevention
- #K99HD091396
Grant funding from NICHD
Summer is a time during which children’s risk of obesity increases substantially, yet there is a paucity of interventions to prevent summer increases in BMI. Disrupted sleep patterns and behavioral rhythms, which may occur in the transition from the school year to summer vacation, have been implicated in the onset of obesity. The i♥rhythm project, will adapt Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy to promote stable behavioral rhythms during summer vacation for the prevention of obesity in young elementary school children.