Primary Institution:University of Maryland, Baltimore
Current SEPA Project
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. My personal and professional experiences have led to an increased interest in the field of obesity, energy balance and lifestyle interventions to improve health and chronic disease related outcomes including cancer, particularly in populations such as minority and underserved communities at high risk for obesity. My academic training, research experience, and clinical practice have provided me with a strong background in nutrition and dietary intake methodology. I have served as the Co-I on numerous nutrition-focused clinical trials, and currently serve as the Contact PI for a NIH R25 SEPA grant, “UMB CURE Connections: an integral link in a Baltimore minority STEM education pipeline”. This program, through a partnership with the UMGCCC Cancer Center and support from the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center Support Grant (P30), provides robust STEM educational enrichment for high school scholars from West Baltimore communities as part of a minority STEM education pipeline to college and careers in these fields. As a registered dietitian and nutrition scientist, my experiences have led to an increased interest in the field of lifestyle interventions to reduce chronic disease outcomes and cancer, particularly those underserved populations experiencing high rates of health disparities.
The University of Maryland Baltimore Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (UMB CURE) Scholars program provides STEM enrichment for middle school (MS) students from severely disadvantaged West Baltimore communities. To foster the scholars’ continued engagement in science through high school (HS) and college, UMB CURE Connections (C2) was developed to provide HS curricula that connects MS with college programs in a minority STEM education pipeline.
The primary aim of our project is to provide year-round STEM enrichment activities that excite scholars about biomedical/health science-focused STEM subjects and inspire them to pursue these fields in college and their careers. Year round programming offered after school and during a 5 week summer session consists of STEM enrichment activities that incorporate a) hands-on research in biomedical and broader STEM fields; b) college and career path exploration; and c) outreach events and conference presentations that disseminate scholar-research findings on the health lifestyle relationship at the family, school, community, state and national levels. We also utilize robust mentoring to excite scholars about biomedical/health science-focused STEM subjects and inspire them to pursue these fields in college and their careers. C2 is a central component of a minority STEM education pipeline in which partner programs and institutions provide a strong pool of near peer and professional mentors.
Associated SEPA Project(s)
UMB CURE Connections: an integral link in a Baltimore minority STEM education pipeline
R25GM129875-01 : 09/01/2018 - 06/30/2023