UTH

Center for Health Equity

Research

Select a Project Category

Primary InvestigatorMarcia Otto, PhD

 

 

Project Team

otto

Primary Investigator

Marcia Otto, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences

marcia.c.otto@uth.tmc.edu

 

 MemberPhoto (2)

Kristen Sandulache, RD

Registered Dietitian, School of Public Health

 

MemberPhoto (1)

Savi Appana, MS

Biostatistician, School of Public Health

 

Ji Yun Tark

Ji Yun Tark, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant, School of Public Health

 

Kimberly-Morrison.23

Kimberly Morrison, MPH

Trainee, School of Public Health

 

 

Project Partners: MD Anderson Cancer Center and Michael E. DeBakey Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The goal of this prospective investigation is to advance scientific understanding of the role and relevance of diet diversity for diet quality and risk of cardiovascular disease among U.S adults.

Project Contact: Naomi Tice, MPH

 

 

UTHealth Houston School of Public Health Team 

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Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

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Ryan Ramphul, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology

Ryan.Ramphul@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

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Project Manager

Naomi Tice, MPH

Center for Health Equity

Naomi.Tice@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

Project Partners

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Elena Marks, JD, MPH

Co-Founder

Texas Consortium for NMDOH

 

 

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Jacquie Klotz, MA 

Program Manager

Texas Consortium for NMDOH

 

 

Collaborators 

Texas Consortium for Non-Medical Drivers of Health 

The field of Food Is Medicine is at critical juncture, having gained national attention and recognition for its ability to prevent and address chronic health conditions. Understanding the current landscape of Food Is Medicine (FIM) initiatives in Texas is key to harnessing this momentum and translating it into policy change.? The Center for Health Equity, in partnership with the Texas Consortium for NMDOH, is building out a three-pronged approach to organizing and strengthening the FIM landscape in Texas.

Project Contact: Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

 

chuang-l

Principal Investigator

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Ru-jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

 

Study Partners

Brighter Bites and Penn State Better Kid Care

 

This quasi-experimental study examines the short- and long-term effectiveness of the Nurturing Healthy Teachers, a school-based intervention that provides fruits and vegetables plus a web-based teachers' wellness program in improving food insecurity, diet quality and cardiometabolic health among teachers of elementary school age children. 

 Project Contact: Heidi Hagen McPherson, MPH

 

Project Team

sharma-s

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Co-Lead, Health Equity Collective

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

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Heidi Hagen McPherson, MPH

Co-Lead, Health Equity Collective

Heidi.McPherson@uth.tmc.edu

 

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Maggie Green, MPA

Program Manager, Health Equity Collective

Maggie.Green@uth.tmc.edu

Implementation and evaluation of a bi-directional closed-loop referral demonstration project that allows healthcare and social service organizations to implement a "no wrong door" approach by referring patients/clients to the any of the social services they need. 

Project Contact: Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN

 

Project Team

sharma-s

Principal Investigator

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

markham

Co-Investigator

Christine Markham, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Christine.Markham@uth.tmc.edu

 

chuang-l

Co-Investigator

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Ru-jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

 

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Co-Investigator

Prajakta Yergai, MD

Assistant Professor, McGovern Medical School

Prajakta.S.Yeragi@uth.tmc.edu

 

 Vinay-N.-Prabhu-MD-180x225-1

Co-Investigator

Vinay N. Prabhu, MD

Assistant Professor, McGovern Medical School

vinay.n.prabhu@uth.tmc.edu

 

McKay-Sandra-web 

Co-Investigator

Sandra McKay, MD

Associate Professor, McGovern Medical School

Sandra.McKay@uth.tmc.edu

 

AMarshall

Co-Investigator

Allison Marshall, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cizik School of Nursing

Allison.n.marshall@uth.tmc.edu

 

 Mallika Mathur

Graduate Research Assistant

 

Matt Tang

Graduate Research Assistant  

 

 

Study Partners

Brighter Bites and Penn State Better Kid Care

 

This comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial evaluates the clinical effectiveness of two different produce prescription strategies (at-home delivery and grocery store vouchers) in improving obesity-related health outcomes and dietary behaviors among a cohort of children aged 5-12 years old who are Medicaid eligible in Houston, Texas.

 Project Contact: Heidi Hagen McPherson, MPH

 

Project Team

sharma-s

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Co-Lead, Health Equity Collective

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

mcpherson-h

Heidi Hagen McPherson, MPH

Co-Lead, Health Equity Collective

Heidi.McPherson@uth.tmc.edu

 

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Principal Investigator

Jemima John, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Jemima.John@uth.tmc.edu

 

 RGuerrero

Co-Investigator

Rosalia Guerrero

Director, Vulnerable Populations

Texas Epidemic Public Health Institute (TEPHI) 

Rosalia.Guerrero@uth.tmc.edu

 

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Program Manager

Maggie Green, MPA

Health Equity Collective

Maggie.Green@uth.tmc.edu

The Health Equity Collective (“Collective”) is a systems coalition focused on improving care coordination across systems to improve social determinants of health needs in Greater Houston region. The Collective includes more than 200 organizations, with UTHealth Houston serving as the backbone organization.

Project Contact: Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

Project Team

sharma-s

Principal Investigator

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

shreela.v.sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

WPerkison

Co-Principal Investigator

William D. Perkison, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

william.b.perkison@uth.tmc.edu

 

chuang-l

Co-Principal Investigator

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

ru-jye.chuang@uth.tmc.edu

 

markham

Co-Investigator

Christine Markham, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

christine.markham@uth.tmc.edu

 

RamphulRyan

Co-Investigator

Ryan Ramphul, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

ryan.ramphul@uth.tmc.edu

 

fernandez

Co-Investigator

Maria Fernandez, PhD

Director, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research

maria.e.fernandez@uth.tmc.edu

 

springer

 

Andrew Springer, DrPH

Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

andrew.e.springer@uth.tmc.edu

Study Partner

Brighter Bites

 

 

Brighter Bites is an evidence-based coordinated school health intervention proven to improve intake of fruits and vegetables among low-income children and their families. Our program evaluation core evaluates the efficacy and implementation outcomes of Brighter Bites among elementary school children in the programming cities. 

 Project Contact: Maggie Green, MPA

 

Project Team

sharma-s

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Co-Lead, Health Equity Collective

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

mcpherson-h

Heidi Hagen McPherson, MPH

Co-Lead, Health Equity Collective

Heidi.McPherson@uth.tmc.edu

 

MGreen Cropped Headshot

Maggie Green, MPA

Program Manager, Health Equity Collective

Maggie.Green@uth.tmc.edu

This initiative aims to strengthen the Community Health Worker ecosystem by advancing organizational policies and practices that will support the CHWs in their career development and workforce.

Primary InvestigatorMarcia Otto, PhD

 

 

Project Team

otto

Primary Investigator

Marcia Otto, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences

marcia.c.otto@uth.tmc.edu

 

 MemberPhoto (2)

Kristen Sandulache, RD

Registered Dietitian, School of Public Health

 

MemberPhoto (1)

Savi Appana, MS

Biostatistician, School of Public Health

 

Ji Yun Tark

Ji Yun Tark, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant, School of Public Health

 

Kimberly-Morrison.23

Kimberly Morrison, MPH

Trainee, School of Public Health

 

 

Project Partners: MD Anderson Cancer Center and Michael E. DeBakey Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

U-DINE is a longitudinal, multi-cohort study which aims to 1) quantify dietary patterns and insufficiencies and 2) evaluate the impact of cancer and related treatment on suboptimal diet among oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) patients over the continuum of cancer care.

Project Contact: Ru- Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH 

Project Team

chuang-l

Principal Investigator

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Ru-jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

 

Adapting and testing the validity of an existing readiness measurement tool in the school setting based on semi-structured individual interviews with school staff and programming staff to better understand school readiness for Brighter Bites implementation.

Project Contact: Naomi Tice, MPH

 

 

 

 Project Team

sharma-s

Principal Investigator

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

NRanjit

Principal Investigator

Nalini Ranjit, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences

Nalini.Ranjit@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

Dariush-Profile

Co-Investigator

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH

 

 

ridberg

Co-Investigator

Ronit Ridberg, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Tufts University

Ronit.Ridberg@tufts.edu

 

 

tice-n

Project Manager

Naomi Tice, MPH

Center for Health Equity

Naomi.Tice@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

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Research Coordinator

Wesley Gibson, MPH

Center for Health Equity

Wesley.R.Gibson@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

Study Partners

About Fresh, Texas Children's Health Plan, and Tufts University

This project evaluates the implementation and impact of a medically-tailored retail produce prescription program (Fresh Connect) on gestational weight gain, and other pregnancy and birth outcomes among high-risk pregnant mothers receiving care at Texas Children's Health Plan. Additionally, we will test the effectiveness of an  enhanced cardholder engagement on the redemption of the produce prescription at the retail grocery stores. 

Project Contact: Jemima John, PhD

 

john-j

Principal Investigator

Jemima John, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Jemima.John@uth.tmc.edu

 

Project Partners

UTPhysicians

The Medical Legal Partnership evaluation framework convenes domains across the RE-AIM framework to qualitatively and quantitatively assess measures of interest around social needs that disproportionately impact populations of low income and of color. 

Project Contact: Jemima John, PhD

 

 Project Team

sharma-s

Principal Investigator

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

shreela.v.sharma@uth.tmc.edu

john-j

Co-Principal Investigator

Jemima John, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences

jemima.c.john@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

Project Partners

Brighter Bites and CUNY School of Public Health

Using a randomized controlled design to determine the preliminary impact of financial coaching plus lifestyle intervention in improving weight loss, while also improving  secondary endpoints such as cognitive functioning, metabolic functioning, and psychosocial and health behavior outcomes. 

Project Contact: Naomi Tice, MPH

 

 

 Project Team

sharma-s

Principal Investigator

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

NRanjit

Principal Investigator

Nalini Ranjit, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences

Nalini.Ranjit@uth.tmc.edu

 

tice-n

Project Manager

Naomi Tice, MPH

Center for Health Equity

Naomi.Tice@uth.tmc.edu

 

Maha_Almohamad Headshot 2023

Research Coordinator

Maha Almohamad, MS

Graduate Research Assistant, Center for Health Equity

Maha.Almohamad@uth.tmc.edu

 

 

Project Partners

Harris Health System, Brighter Bites, and Planet Harvest

This project assesses the impact of a robust produce prescription program that provides consistent access to fresh produce through home delivery plus nutrition education impacts gestational weight gain and other pregnancy and birth outcomes in low-income, ethnically diverse, high-risk pregnant women receiving care at Harris Health Systems in Harris County.

Project Contact: Jennifer Aiyer, MPH, RD

 

 Project Team

sharma-s

Co-Principal Investigator

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

shreela.v.sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

NRanjit

Co-Principal Investigator

Nalini Ranjit, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

nalini.ranjit@uth.tmc.edu

 

tice-n

Research Coordinator

Naomi Tice, MPH

Project Manager, Center for Health Equity

Naomi.tice@uth.tmc.edu

 

Research Coordinator

Jennifer Aiyer, MPH, RD

Center for Health Equity

Jennifer.N.Aiyer@uth.tmc.edu

 

Wes Gibson Headshot

Research Coordinator

Wesley Gibson, MPH

Center for Health Equity

Wesley.R.Gibson@uth.tmc.edu

 

Study Partners

Community Health Choice and Houston Food Bank

This project assesses if a Houston Food Bank (HFB) comprehensive food prescription (Food Rx) program, providing consistent access to healthy food plus nutrition education, impacts gestational weight gain, other pregnancy and birth outcomes, and food and nutrition security in low-income, ethnically diverse, at-risk women residing in Houston, TX. 

Project Contact: Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

 

Project Team

chuang-l

Co-Principal Investigator

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

 

sharma-s

Co-Principal Investigator

Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

Shreela.V.Sharma@uth.tmc.edu

 

markham

Co-Investigator

Christine Markham, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Christine.Markham@uth.tmc.edu

 

Study Partners: MD Anderson Cancer Center and Brighter Bites

 

This study evaluates the impact of a Brighter Bites coordinated school health intervention on obesity measures, metabolic parameters, dietary intake, and food security status in low-income children and their parents residing in Acres Homes, a persistent poverty area of Houston, Texas. 

Project Contact: Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

chuang-l

Principal Investigator

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH

 

To promote healthy diet and participants’ perceived helpfulness and confidence in preparing fruits and vegetables through community cooking classes and cooking video development.

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