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.”

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Current Projects

Brighter Bites

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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)

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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)

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

HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living)

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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

Public health experts launch real-time COVID-19 data dashboard with prediction modeling for Texas

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A new COVID-19 tracking tool that can tell Texans what is happening in real time in their own communities and anticipate how one person can infect dozens more was recently launched by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

What is keeping the COVID-19 death rate in Texas low?

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Texas has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. Doctors say the numbers are moving in the wrong direction – except when it comes to deaths. The death rate been declining statewide for the last month. Data from Texas Health and Human Services showed the death rate in Texas peaked on May 26 at 2.7%.

As Restaurants Reopen, Gloves and Masks are the New Key Ingredients

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When Datz Restaurant Group, based in Tampa, Fla., reopened five of its six restaurants over Mother’s Day weekend, employees pitched tents in parking lots to expand outdoor seating, and in compliance with state regulations, limited their dining room capacity to 25 percent.

Can we get ahead of the next surge of coronavirus cases? There’s an app for that.

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Researchers at UTHealth hope more than 1 million Texans will use mobile app to help track symptoms before outbreaks occur.

App helps scientists track COVID-19 symptoms

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A new free research app aims to record users’ COVID19 symptoms, so scientists can learn more about the new virus, understand how it’s spreading and determine hotspots so states would be better suited to focus their resources.