Deborah has a majority appointment in Public Health Extension and is a member of the Kinesiology program faculty. She serves as the statewide Extension specialist for Health Equity and Place, and as senior personnel leading the internal evaluation for Oregon State ADVANCE. Her participatory research engages communities and focuses on the interplay of attributes of people with attributes of place to influence lifestyle behaviors, health outcomes, and health equity. She has directed these efforts toward rural populations/subpopulations, such as children, low-income families, women, racial/ethnic groups, and older adults, and household, school, worksite, rural, Native American/American Indian tribal and reservation community contexts.
Deborah served as the principal investigator (with Kathy Gunter) on a USDA NIFA funded, multiyear, multistate integrated research, education and Extension project to understand the effects of rural community and school contexts on family and child dietary and physical activity behaviors and behavioral patterns, and environmental factors that contribute obesity risk in rural children.