Featured Researchers

Featured researchers

See how the Hallie E. Ford Center's dedicated researchers are advocating a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to research and outreach that has far-reaching consequences for Oregon and beyond.

Kelly Chandler, Ph.D.

Kelly Chandler, PhD

As an Associate Professor in the School of Human Development and Family Sciences, Kelly Chandler earned her PhD from Pennsylvania State University and held previous positions there before joining OSU in 2015. She directs the Family, Work, & Well-Being Lab.

Kelly's research, spanning 20 years, focuses on understanding the diverse experiences of parents at work, home, and in work-family integration, influenced by both family and workplace dynamics. Additionally, her research examines how daily work experiences impact family interactions and well-being, emphasizing the importance of collecting daily diaries from both parents and children.

Kelly is dedicated to translating research into practice, especially by centering the experiences of marginalized employed parents and their families to promote thriving in both work and family life.

Rural Families Speak about Resilience Project

Kelly is the Chair of a multistate Agricultural Experiment Station project funded by NIFA called, Rural Families Speak about Resilience. They are collecting data from female caregivers in low-income households in rural communities across the United States.She is investigating the role of family resilience in the connection between mothers' work-family conflict and physical and mental health.

The CIDER Study

One of her graduate students, Madi Nichols was a recipient of LIFE Scholars Summer Program award sponsored by the Center for Health Aging Research for her study called, the Contextual Influences on Daily Emotion Regulation (CIDER) Study. She conducted a daily diary study of middle-aged adults to examine emotion regulation strategies in work and family contexts. She's enjoying their collaboration working on presentations and papers!

Work-Family Conflict and Racial Justice

Kelly's primary focus is to build on an article she wrote with HDFS graduate students in the National Council on Family Relations report called, "Work-family conflict is a racial justice issue." She is studying how institutional racism exacerbates disparities in parents' ability to integrate their work and family roles.

Kelly hopes is the most impactful aspect of her work is uplifting voices of working parents who have been overlooked to inform more equitable and inclusive work-family policies and practices.

I'm happiest when I'm spending time and being goofy with my family. I enjoy cheering for my daughters while they play sports and dance. I love watching women's basketball!

Also, I watch a lot of documentaries and read books about cults in my free time. I am fascinated by child development and family processes in cults. We can learn a lot about individual and family trauma and resilience by studying cults!

One day I hope to teach a special topics class on cults and families.

Jessica Gorman

Jessica Gorman, PhD, MPH

Jessica Gorman is a behavioral scientist and Associate Professor in the Health Promotion and Health Behavior program. She received her MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her PhD in Public Health from the University of California, San Diego in their Joint Doctoral Program with San Diego State University. 

Jessica conducts community-engaged research focused on improving access to health care and quality of life for cancer survivors and their partners/co-survivors. Her work is motivated by community-identified priorities and focuses on developing and testing scalable interventions to reduce distress in cancer survivorship. A particular focus has been on reducing distress related to reproductive and sexual health (e.g., infertility associated with cancer treatment, changes in sexual function after cancer).

Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity Consortium

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity Consortium generates, supports, and disseminates research that improves understanding of the diverse factors affecting sexual and reproductive health equity. Protecting and celebrating the sexual and reproductive health of vulnerable populations is critically important to upholding human rights and public health, both in local communities and across global settings. All people should have access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health care, have the right to decide when and if they have children, and be able to have a safe, satisfying sex life.

Research foci include modifying social environments to improve access to health services preventing infectious diseases among at-risk populations, people of color, and LGBTQ+ communities; promoting reproductive and sexual health after cancer; understanding and improving partner communication and relationship dynamics; preventing unintended pregnancy; and evaluating access to contraceptive and abortion services

Thriving After Cancer

A particular focus has been on reducing distress related to reproductive and sexual health (e.g., infertility associated with cancer treatment, changes in sexual function after cancer). In an exciting new project, the Thriving Together research team is learning from and working with transgender and gender diverse communities toward reducing barriers to cancer-related care and refining how gender identity is asked about in research and cancer care settings.

This work is critically important because emerging evidence suggests a higher cancer burden and poorer outcomes for this population compared to cisgender folks.  

In her spare time, Jessica especially enjoys listing to music and spending time outside in nature.

Molly Kile

Molly Kile, ScD

Molly Kile is an environmental epidemiologist focused on understanding the health impacts related to early life exposure to chemical contaminants. Dr. Kile is also interested in identifying social and host factors (e.g. genetics, epigenetics, and microbiome) that can mediate these exposure-response relationships. In addition to conducting studies that inform risk assessment and environmental policy, she also participates in community-based health research in order to identify control measures acceptable to impacted communities.

Currently, she is working on a prospective birth cohort in Bangladesh examining the effect of early life exposure to metals on children’s health outcomes including reproductive health outcomes, immunological functioning, and neurocognitive behavior. She is also working with Native American Tribes to investigate air quality and chemical contamination in First Foods.

Dr. Kile is helping to develop a new study in Oregon that will investigate the association between flame retardant chemical exposure and children’s neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes. Finally, she is helping to develop and assess well water safety programming that will motivate homeowners to mitigate environmental hazards detected in their home’s well water.


Dr. Kile is Co-Principal Investigator and Lead for OSU's Advancing Science, Practice, Programming and Policy in Research Translation for Children's Environmental Health Center (ASPIRE Center). This is a dedicated team working together to improve children’s health and well-being. Our efforts focus on accelerating the adoption of evidence-informed policies, programs, and practices that can reduce harmful environmental exposures where children live, play, and go to school.

Flame Retardant Study

The Flame Retardant Study explores chemicals which are added to many consumer products to meet fire safety codes and prevent these items from catching fire quickly. Some of these chemicals can accumulate inside people’s homes. Children are more likely to be exposed to these chemicals because they play on floors, frequently put their hands and objects in their mouths, and spend a lot of time indoors. This is a study of how these chemicals and early social environments affect children’s behaviors and development.

Developmental exposure to arsenic and immune function in children

She is the Principal Investigator for this NIEHS-funded research project which is actively following up children in Bangladesh to: 1) determine the relationship between prenatal arsenic exposure and infectious diseases morbidity, 2) determine the relationship between prenatal arsenic exposure and development of humoral immunity against human pathogens, and 3) explore the association between prenatal arsenic and changes in immune profiles in peripheral leukocytes in paired cord-infant blood samples.

OSU's Superfund Research Center

Molly Kile is also the director of the Community Engagement Core of OSU’s Superfund Research Center. In this role, she works with Native American Tribes in the Pacific Northwest to investigate their concerns about environmental pollution.

Molly Kile’s work is heavily focused on identifying threats to vulnerable populations, including children and families living in areas with limited resources. She is currently working on several projects. One of which is focuses on a prospective birth cohort in Bangladesh examining the effect of early life exposure to metals on children’s health outcomes including reproductive health outcomes, immunological functioning, and neurocognitive behavior.

Molly Kile is also conducting a study to investigate the association between flame retardant chemical exposure and children’s neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes.

John Schuna

John Schuna Jr, PhD

John Schuna Jr. is a physical activity assessment, epidemiology, and intervention scientist seeking to expand our understanding of physical activity’s health benefits and its associations with other health parameters (e.g., obesity).

John’s current research foci are 1) the identification and modulation of light-intensity physical activity interventions aimed at maximizing energy expenditure in occupational environments typically characterized by high levels of sedentary behavior (e.g., seated office work), and 2) the development, evaluation, and improvement of physical activity assessment methods and data capture systems with an emphasis on applications using wearable technologies.

4-Day School Week

John is a long-time contributor and member of the 4-day school week team. The team conducts comprehensive analyses of four-day school week policy adoption and implementation to understand the impacts on children and families. Their efforts will inform decision makers, help leaders solve problems, and promote positive change in our communities.

Service to the Public

Dr. Schuna Jr. has participated in many interviews regarding everyday health within the workplace and beyond. Articles featuring John can be found on his Oregon State University faculty profile.

Dr. Schuna Jr.’s work has been featured in several articles focused on physical activity, predominantly on the benefits of walking. In his collaboration with other researchers there is agreement that “more steps are better than fewer,” and that one should “spend as little time not moving as possible within reasons.” Ideally, a brisker walk fares far greater benefits than walking less briskly.

In his focus on occupational environments such as the office workplace, new trends of being less sedentary may not be as beneficial as they are made out to be. One of these trends is the introduction of the “treadmill desk,” its intention to increase physical activity while working. Dr. Shuna Jr. shared that participants in a study using treadmill desks not only were not using it enough, but also that their paces were too slow to burn enough calories to lose weight.

It was also noted that even if participants were to meet the federal guidelines recommended (150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity), the feasibility to maintain productivity and a moderate pace could be difficult. Despite this, Dr. Shuna Jr. still encourages its use as individuals can find more health benefits as opposed to remaining sedentary—“something is better than nothing.”