Shreela V. Sharma, PhD, RD, LD

Photo of Shreela V. Sharma

Professor, Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences
Co-Director, Dietetic Internship Program
shreela.v.sharma@uth.tmc.edu

Dr. Sharma is a trained dietitian and physical therapist. As a health professional, she strongly felt she was treating preventable diseases stemming from poor lifestyles: heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. She saw the repercussions were devastating the community. Her love for teaching, academics and the community led her to purse a PhD in public health, focusing on epidemiology. Her interest is in nutrition and physical activity-based interventions to address obesity via school, family, and the community, predominantly in low-income minority populations. She co-found Brighter Bites, a partner program of the Houston Food Bank, and serves on the Mayor of Houston’s Go Healthy Houston Task Force.

She is currently working on Healthy Eating Active Living (HE/AL). Dr. Sharma explains, “HE/AL is designed to promote healthy birth outcomes and prevent maternal and childhood obesity among low-income Medicaid patients. The project will use evidence-based strategies from Brighter Bites, Legacy of Health and The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre to promote breastfeeding and physical activity among pregnant women and women with infants. Families will receive free group education classes (nutrition, cooking, and exercise) and 30 lbs of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables weekly for 12 weeks. We will be tracking the effect of the program on maternal weight gain during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, infant birth weight, breastfeeding, and infant weight gain in the first year of life.”

Download CV

Current Projects

Brighter Bites

Thumbnail image for Brighter Bites

This project is a collaborative effort to impact eating behavior among predominantly low-income families by introducing them to a routine distribution of fresh produce and corresponding education, ultimately to curb the childhood obesity epidemic.

ENRICH (Encouraging Nurturing Responsiveness to Improve Child Health)

Thumbnail image for ENRICH (Encouraging Nurturing Responsiveness to Improve Child Health)

ENRICH stands for Encouraging Nurturing Responsiveness to Improve Child Health. This research project works to help parents establish healthy eating, activity, bedtime, and screen time routines.

CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health)

Thumbnail image for CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health)

CATCH is a research-based program designed to guide schools, families and children in healthy eating and physical activity.

HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living)

Thumbnail image for HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living)

This project is a clinic-community based intervention to implement an early life-cycle approach to obesity prevention among pregnant women and women with infants from low-income families.

Recent Publications

Measures of Physical Activity and Body Mass Index in Hospital Workers: A Multisite Cross-Sectional Study.

(John, J., Swartz, M. D., Hoelscher, D., Huber, C., & Sharma, S. (2019). Journal of occupational and environmental medicine.)

The Nourish Program: An innovative model for cooking, gardening and clinical care skill enhancement for dietetics students.

(McWhorter JW*, Raber M, Sharma SV, Moore LS, Hoelscher DM. J Academy Nutrition Dietetics. 2019; 119(2):199-201.)

Maternal Lactase Polymorphism Is Associated with Neural Tube Defects in Offspring in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

(Hoang, Thanh T., Yunping Lei, Laura E. Mitchell, Shreela V. Sharma, Michael D. Swartz, D. Kim Waller, Richard H. Finnell et al. The Journal of nutrition 149, no. 2 (2019): 295-303.)

Interventions targeting diet quality of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants: A scoping review

Verghese, Anila, Margaret Raber, and Shreela Sharma. Preventive medicine (2018).

The Nourish Program: An innovative model for cooking, gardening and clinical care skill enhancement for dietetics students

(McWhorter JW, Raber M, Sharma SV, Moore LS, Hoelscher DM; J Academy Nutr Dietetics; 2018)

Recent News

The Epidemiologist in the Living Room

Thumbnail image for The Epidemiologist in the Living Room

The UTHealth School of Public Health is meeting students where they are with a new online MPH degree in epidemiology.

Pilot Food as Medicine Program in Texas Shows Promise, Challenges

Thumbnail image for Pilot Food as Medicine Program in Texas Shows Promise, Challenges

Residents of North Pasadena, Texas, struggling with food insecurity who obtained “prescriptions” for healthy food from their clinic providers were able to boost their intake of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, beans, and whole grains, in another example of the food as medicine movement that also illustrates some of the challenges with these efforts.

Sugar-Free Diet Sodas Tied to an Increased Risk of Early Death

Thumbnail image for Sugar-Free Diet Sodas Tied to an Increased Risk of Early Death

Shreela Sharma, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition specialist at UTHealth School of Public Health, discussed how sugar-free diet sodas are tied to an increased risk of early death.

Brighter Bites Works to Fuel Kids with Healthy Food

Thumbnail image for Brighter Bites Works to Fuel Kids with Healthy Food

Houston, TX organization Brighter Bites is helping communities in food swamps by empowering food-insecure families themselves to organize for a better food future. “They’re helping to be helped. All those touchpoints with the families create communities through fresh food,” says Brighter Bites co-founder Lisa Helfman.

The 100 coolest people in food and drink

Thumbnail image for The 100 coolest people in food and drink

Inspired by the hugely successful Tech 100, Business Insider is launching its first ever Food 100 — a ranking of the 100 coolest people in the world of food and drink, with a particular focus on Europe and North America.