Deanna M. Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., C.N.S., F.I.S.B.N.P.A, is the John P. McGovern Professor in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, founding Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, and Associate Regional Dean for Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin. 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 avoid the development of chronic disease, with a special emphasis on low-income and diverse populations. 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. Dr. Hoelscher co-founded Live Smart Texas in 2007, a statewide coalition that aims to build collaborations across the state to better achieve health outcomes by working together to promote an obesity prevention policy agenda in Texas. 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 School Physical Activity and Nutrition (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.
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. Currently, she serves as a Member-at-Large for The Obesity Society, and has held positions at 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). She was a reviewer on the Institute of Medicine consensus reports on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States (2010), School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children (2010), and Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth (2007).
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.
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.
(Maria Jose Romo-Palafox, PhD, RD; Nalini Ranjit, PhD; Sara J. Sweitzer, PhD, RD, LD; Cindy Roberts-Gray, PhD;
Courtney E. Byrd-Williams, PhD; Margaret E. Briley, PhD, RD, LD; Deanna M. Hoelscher, PhD, RD, LD, CNS; Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 2017)
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).