UTH

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

Photo of Deanna Hoelscher

Campus Dean, UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin
Director, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas System
Deanna.M.Hoelscher@uth.tmc.edu

Dr. Hoelscher’s research interests include teaching children and their families to engage in healthier dietary and physical activity behaviors to avoid chronic diseases, with an emphasis on addressing health disparities. Her recent work has focused on implementing interventions and evaluations on policy, systems, and environmental changes.  Dr. Hoelscher has received multiple federal and foundation grants, and has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, as well as numerous awards for research, teaching, and mentoring. She is principal investigator of the Texas School Physical Activity and Nutrition (Texas SPAN) survey funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services to monitor the prevalence of obesity in school-aged children in the state, and the STREETS project, a NIH-funded natural experiment to determine the effects of Safe Routes to School policies on child physical activity.  She is also Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, where she oversees the Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration project.

In 2018, Dr. Hoelscher became Dean of the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, which is the largest of the five regional campuses for the UTHealth School of Public Health. Dr. Hoelscher was President of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) from 2012 to 2013 and elected a Fellow of ISBNPA in 2015.  She served as a Member-at-Large for The Obesity Society, and has held leadership positions at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.

She has won numerous awards for teaching and research, including the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2017, and has been designated as a Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas System.

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The Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold 2019 Childhood Obesity Lecture Series
Arnold School of Public Health at The University of South Carolina

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Deanna Hoelscher
Keynote: "Combating Child Obesity from Population to Policy"

 

Current Projects

Digital Physical Activity and Diet (dPAD) Collaborative

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The Digital Physical Activity and Diet (dPAD) Collaborative’s goal is to bring together researchers who are interested in addressing obesity, diet, and physical activity through technology-based research.

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.

Lunch is in the Bag

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The purpose of this intervention is to encourage parents to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in sack lunches for their preschool children in childcare centers. The goal for this research is the development of new strategies for the promotion of healthy eating practices in children through childcare centers.

CATCH Middle School

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The Central Texas CATCH Middle School Project (CATCH MS) was a school-based health promotion initiative aimed at promoting physical activity, healthy eating and obesity prevention among middle school students living in central Texas.

STREETS (Safe TRavel Environment Evaluation in Texas Schools)

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The STREETS Study (Safe TRavel Environment Evaluation in Texas Schools) is a five-year (2018 – 2023) natural experiment that is evaluating the City of Austin Safe Routes to School program.

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.

Texas SNAP-Ed Evaluation

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Texas SNAP-Ed Evaluation, is a two-year project to evaluate, on a statewide basis, the effectiveness of SNAP-Ed nutrition education and obesity prevention programming activities delivered by Implementing Agencies throughout the state of Texas.

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.

School Stakeholder Interview Project

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The purpose of the School Stakeholder Interview Project (SSIP) was to learn about school stakeholder preferences and priorities to improve Center strategies for recruiting and retaining research study schools and participants, as well as to guide future projects.

Texas School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (TX SPAN)

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The Texas SPAN survey was established to track the prevalence of overweight and obese school-aged children in Texas.

Texas Child Obesity Research Demonstration (CORD)

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This project will connect the dots between families, pediatricians, schools and local youth organizations to develop community capacity for early detection and effective management of obesity using evidence-based programs like CATCH and MEND.

Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation (T-COPPE)

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This project is a collaborative effort that will study the impact of two recent policies: the Safe Routes to School program and an important rule revision to the federal food allocation package administered by the Texas Women, Infants and Children program.

Recent Publications

Efficacy of various prescribed vitamin D supplementation regimens on 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum levels in long-term care.

Robbins, R. N., Serra, M., Ranjit, N., Hoelscher, D. M., Sweitzer, S. J., & Briley, M. E. (2022). Public health nutrition, 25(1), 82–89.

School-Level Economic Disparities in Police-Reported Crimes and Active Commuting to School.

(Burford, K.; Ganzar, L.A.; Lanza, K.; Kohl, H.W., III; Hoelscher, D.M. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 10885. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010885) PMCID: PMC8535774

Intention to Lose Weight and Use of Electronic Cigarettes Among Adolescents.

(Sanchez, R., Ranjit, N., Kelder, S. H., Gill, M., & Hoelscher, D. M. (2021). Preventive Medicine Reports, 101406.)

Use of School Wellness Policy Templates in One Texas Public Health Region: A Mixed Methods Analysis.

(Szeszulski, J., Walker, T. J., McCurdy, S. A., & Hoelscher, D. M. (2021). Journal of School Health.)

Effects of trees, gardens, and nature trails on heat index and child health: design and methods of the Green Schoolyards Project

(Lanza, K., Alcazar, M., Hoelscher, D.M. et al. BMC Public Health 21, 98 (2021).)

Recent News

Obesity increases the risk of COVID-19 complications in children, report shows

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Experts say the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the nation's pediatric obesity rate. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that obesity in children was a determinant for hospitalization.

Factor Health Links Diverse Partners to Embed Community-based Health Interventions for Children in Travis County

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Applying learnings from decades of research on the effects of youth obesity on overall health, Factor Health – an initiative of Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin – is launching its third program, bringing together diverse partners including Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Lone Star Circle of Care to improve the health of pre-adolescent girls in Central Texas.

Deanna M. Hoelscher to provide keynote address at fourth annual Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold Childhood Obesity Lecture

Thumbnail image for Deanna M. Hoelscher to provide keynote address at fourth annual Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold Childhood Obesity Lecture

The Arnold School of Public Health will host the Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold 2019 Childhood Obesity Lecture on Thursday, September 19 from 2 - 5 p.m. The keynote address for the lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be delivered by Deanna M. Hoelscher (Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., C.N.S., F.I.S.B.N.P.A.) on Combating Child Obesity from Population to Policy.... READ MORE.

UTHealth School of Public Health Announces New Regional Dean of Austin Campus

Dr. Deanna M. Hoelscher, has been named regional dean of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin, beginning Sept. 1. She will succeed Dr. Cheryl L. Perry, who has been serving as regional dean since the school’s Austin campus was established in 2007.

UTHealth expert participates in international project to tackle adolescent obesity

Child obesity expert, Deanna Hoelscher, PhD, RD, from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin was called upon to help lead a groundbreaking project to involve and empower adolescents in the fight against obesity in Europe.

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