About the Executive Committee

The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living is led by an executive team, who brings together decades of experience and represents diverse areas of expertise in child health research. The Executive Committee meets regularly to review Center progress and goals, and provides guidance on the Center at the highest level.

Executive Committee

Deanna HoelscherDeanna Hoelscher, PhD, RDN, LD, CNS, FISBNPA

Regional Dean, UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin
Director, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living
John P. McGovern Professor in Health Promotion


Dr. Hoelscher’s research interests are in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs, policies, and measurement tools related to child nutrition and physical activity. Dr. Hoelscher has been recognized by state, national, and international organizations for her expertise in child nutrition and physical activity research.

Evans_SandraAlexandra (Sandra) van den Berg, PhD, MPH

Associate Director, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living
Associate Professor, Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Alexandra Evans is an Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion in the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin. She received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Subsequently, she received her PhD from the University of Texas and completed a NCI post-doctoral fellowship under the leadership of Dr. Hoelscher.

Steven KelderSteven Kelder, PhD, MPH

Beth Toby Grossman Distinguished Professor in Spirituality and Healing
Coordinator of External Affairs, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living

Dr. Kelder has more than 20 years of experience in design and evaluation of child and adolescent research, particularly interventions directed towards youth, schools, and parents. Recently, his emphasis is on interventions designed for promotion of physical activity and healthy eating, obesity prevention, and substance use prevention.


Bill KohlHarold W. (Bill) Kohl, III, PhD

Professor, Epidemiology and Kinesiology
Associate Regional Dean of Academic Affairs, UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin

Dr. Kohl served as lead epidemiologist and team leader in the Physical Activity and Health Branch of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the CDC in Atlanta. In 2006 he was tapped to help create the first U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines, which were published in 2008. He is the founding president of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health as well as co-editor of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, and was recently appointed Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Science Board.

Nalini Ranjit Nalini Ranjit, PhD

Associate Professor, Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences
Coordinator of Research, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living

Dr. Ranjit’s research interests span two broad areas: social and behavioral epidemiology, and design and evaluation of behavioral interventions. Her work in social and behavioral epidemiology includes several highly cited studies examining environmental, socioeconomic, racial /ethnic, psychosocial factors and behavioral factors associated with disparities in a variety of population health outcomes, including chronic disease biomarkers, health risk behaviors, obesity, and mortality. Her second broad area of research, the design and evaluation of behavioral interventions, is focused on detailed evaluation of effectiveness of interventions, by decomposing the effects of multi-component interventions, and identifying why some subpopulations and some behavioral outcomes appear especially susceptible to the effect of particular interventions. In both areas of research, her work is informed by an explicit focus on quantitative methodologies.


Past Executive Committee Members

Gabriel_Kelley web

Kelley Pettee Gabriel, PhD

Professor of Epidemiology,
University of Alabama at Birmingham







Perry_Cheryl-webCheryl L. Perry, PhD

Professor Emerita, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences
UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin







Guy Parcel RecentGuy Parcel, PhD

Dean Emeritus,
UTHealth School of Public Health