Center for Health Equity

Who we are

Director, Center for Health Equity


Shreela S. Sharma, PhD, RDN, LD

Director, Center for Health Equity

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


Shreela Sharma, PhD, RDN is the founding Director of the Center for Health Equity. She is also Professor & Vice Chair of the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. As a trained dietitian and physical therapist, she realized she was treating diseases stemming from poor lifestyles: heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Sharma completed her PhD in epidemiology with a minor in biostatistics, health promotion, and behavioral sciences to address the systemic inequities leading to high rates of preventable disease and their devastating repercussions in the community. Her research interests are in health equity, health disparities, and behavioral epidemiology with a focus on food insecurity, diet quality, and chronic disease prevention among low-income, ethnically diverse families and communities using a policy, systems, and environment approach. Sharma is committed to the community. She co-leads the Health Equity Collective, a systems coalition in the Greater Houston region with a singular mission of care coordination for social determinants of health needs using a collective impact approach. She also co-founded Brighter Bites, a nationwide non-profit dedicated to providing fresh produce and nutrition education to low-income children and their families.

Center for Health Equity Team


Ru-Jye (Lindi) Chuang, DrPH, MS

Assistant Professor
Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences



Jemima John, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor
Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences



Heidi Hagen McPherson, MPH

Senior Project Manager & Co-Lead Health Equity Collective



Naomi Tice, MPH

Project Manager, Center for Health Equity