Faculty

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Deborah Tate, phd

Deborah Tate is a professor in the Departments of Health Behavior and Nutrition as well as the director of CHAI Core. She has 20 years of research in behavioral weight management, particularly delivered through web and mobile platforms. Dr. Tate conducted several of the first randomized trials using the Internet and new technologies to deliver behavioral treatments for obesity and has continued to conduct a programmatic series of studies to determine which features of digital weight control programs contribute to efficacy.

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Carmina Valle, phd

Carmina Valle is a research assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior with over a decade of experience in the field of cancer prevention and control. Dr. Valle’s research focuses on developing and evaluating technology-based behavior change interventions to eliminate disparities in cancer. Her research interests include using emerging technologies to promote physical activity and weight control, health behavior interventions for young adult and under-served cancer survivors, and tailored health communications.

Staff

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Karen hatley, mph

Karen received her BSPH and MPH in Nutrition at UNC-Chapel Hill.  After working as a Nutrition Consultant for the NC Department of Health and Human Services, she went on to serve as the Managing Director of the UNC Clinical Nutrition Research Center (now the Nutrition Obesity Research Center). In 2006, she joined Dr. Tate’s research group as her Project Manager and is involved in all aspects of the research group including grant submissions; intervention design, development and implementation; manuscripts and overall management of the lab and numerous research studies being conducted by Dr. Tate.

MOLLY DIAMOND, MPH

Molly received her MPH at UNC-Chapel Hill in Health Behavior. She joined Dr. Tate’s research group in 2005 and now assists with all aspects of research including intervention delivery, material development, and writing. She is interested in promoting healthy lifestyles and finding strategies to make healthy changes sustainable for different types of people.

KRISTEN POLZIEN, PHD

Kristen received her PhD in Exercise Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005, and has been a member of Dr. Tate’s research group since 2008. She serves to develop and deliver behavioral interventions. Her interests include enhancing participant engagement and retention, as well as understanding effective techniques that support long-term health behavior change.

LAURIE HURSTING, BA

Laurie earned her BA in Psychology (minor in Creative Writing) from Austin College, Sherman, TX in May 2015. In October 2015, she joined the UNC Weight Research Program and Communication for Health Applications and Interventions (CHAI) Core at Chapel Hill, first as a health behavior and communication postbaccalaureate intern and then as a research assistant. She is particularly interested in how health messaging affects behavior.

Postdoctoral Fellows

CHANTEL MARTIN, PHD, MSPH

Chantel received her MSPH from UNC-Charlotte and PhD in Epidemiology with minor in Biostatistics from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on disparities in obesity and cancer, and she is also interested in weight control intervention strategies among racial/ethnic minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. This is reflected in her current study FitMoms, an internet-based weight control program to reduce postpartum weight retention among low-income WIC participants.

BROOKE NEZAMI, PHD, MA

Brooke received her BA in Psychology and Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill, her MA in Clinical Health Psychology from Appalachian State University, and came back to UNC for her PhD in Health Behavior. Her research focuses on family approaches to prevent obesity in young children, including using technology to improve dietary behaviors, increase physical activity, and decrease screen time. She is also interested in studying how to use mHealth technologies to reach underserved families. For her dissertation, she recently completed the Smart Moms study, a 6-month randomized controlled trial that tested the effect of a smartphone-delivered intervention to reduce child sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and maternal weight in mothers and their children ages 3-5.

Doctoral Students

CANDICE ALICK, MS

Candice is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nutrition. She completed her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University in Biology with a concentration in Physiology and a masters in Cellular Molecular Biology and Physiology at Georgia State University. Her research interests include obesity prevention/treatment, health communication, and addressing health disparities through behavior change. Currently, she is working to use spousal support as a strategy to achieve weight loss in African American men through her behavioral weight loss intervention, Together Eating & Activity Matters (TEAM).

LONEKE BLACKMAN CARR, MA, RD

Loneke is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nutrition. Her focus on nutrition science began with an undergraduate degree at Cornell University, and then a masters in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics from Syracuse University. She also is a registered dietitian. Her research interests include obesity, health disparities, nutrition, physical activity, and community-based participatory research. Currently, she is working on Sisters in Health, her intervention for weight loss through behavior change for African American women.

JULIANNE POWER, MS

Julianne is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Behavior. She completed her BA in Neuroscience at Skidmore College and her MS in Interdisciplinary Studies (Health Promotion) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research interests include obesity prevention, nutrition education, electronic and mobile health, rural populations, and using behavior change techniques to address health disparities.