Regional 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
Deanna M. Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., C.N.S., F.I.S.B.N.P.A, is the Regional Dean of the UTHealth Schools of Public Health in Austin, the John P. McGovern Professor in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, and founding Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. . A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, licensed in Texas, and a Certified Nutrition Specialist, her research interests focus on teaching children and their families how to engage in healthier behaviors to prevent chronic disease, with an emphasis on eliminating health disparities. Her work includes research in child and adolescent nutrition, school-and community-based health promotion programs, dietary assessment methodology, evaluation of child obesity policies, linkages between primary care and public health, and dissemination of school health programs. As a faculty member in public health, her mission is to engage in practice-based teaching, research and service, to better mentor the next generation of public health professionals. She has been the principal investigator of many projects with community-based components, including the Texas Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project (TX CORD) funded by the CDC, Lunch is in the Bag funded by NIH, the Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation study funded by RWJF, and several different studies to develop and evaluate the school-based Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) program. She is currently the principal investigator of the Texas School Physical Activity and Nutrition (Texas SPAN) survey funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services; this study established a surveillance system to monitor the prevalence of overweight/obesity in school-aged children in Texas, and has been conducted since 2000. She is also Principal Investigator of the Safe TRavel Environments Evaluation in Texas Schools (STREETS) project, an NIH-funded natural experiment to determine the effects of Safe Routes to School infrastructure changes on child physical activity.
Dr. Hoelscher was President of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) from 2012 to 2013. She was elected a Fellow of ISBNPA in 2015. She has held elected positions at The Obesity Society, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Dr. Hoelscher was a member of the IOM committee on Evaluating Progress of Obesity Prevention Efforts (2013), and has been a reviewer for several Institute of Medicine consensus reports on school foods and diet. 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.
Dr. Hoelscher received her B.S. in food science and technology from Texas A&M University and her M.A. in nutrition and Ph.D. in biological sciences from The University of Texas at Austin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(Davis JN, Nikah K, Asigbee FM, Landry MJ, Vandyousefi S, Ghaddar R, Hoover A, Jeans M, Pont SJ, Richards D, Hoelscher DM, van den Berg AE*, Bluestein M, Perez A. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2019, 85:105834.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents has awarded its highest honor in recognition of teaching excellence to six exceptional educators at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).