Predictors and consequences of chronic diseases and the promotion of healthy behaviors

Signature Areas and Research Expertise

Faculty have expertise focused on the predictors, treatment, and prevention of chronic diseases including but not limited to diabetes; cardiovascular disease; colorectal, breast, and childhood cancers; and obesity. Researchers also examine the etiology of diseases and the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, prevention of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and the reduction of use of new and emerging tobacco products. Others focus on health literacy and health information to promote adoption of healthy behaviors.

Faculty with expertise in predictors and consequences of chronic diseases and the promotion of healthy behaviors

Marit Bovbjerg, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Research focuses on US maternity care, particularly midwifery and community birth for low-risk women. She is also interested in physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and potential effects on maternal outcomes.

Marc T. Braverman, Ph.D.

Research interests include adolescent health; health promotion theory and health interventions; smoking prevention and control; tobacco policy; program evaluation design and analysis; and design and delivery of community programs.

Susan Carozza, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Research focuses on investigation of environmental factors for childhood cancers, with a special interest in applying geospatial techniques for measuring environmental exposures.

Joseph Catania, Ph.D.

Research focuses on numerous fields including sexual health, survey methods, bioethics and implementation science. He has conducted extensive work across all age groups and major ethnic/racial groups in the United States with a special emphasis on LGBT individuals.

Peggy Dolcini, Ph.D.

Research focuses on infectious diseases, including HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Her current work on sexual health among urban ethnic minority youth addresses the impact of gender on development and sexual behavior, and on new intervention approaches.

Jonathan Garcia, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Research focuses both globally and domestically on health disparities that emerge at the intersection of sexuality, gender and race. His work has focused on devising community-led approaches to social inclusion, HIV prevention and Hepatitis C treatment access, especially among Latinos and LGBT populations.

Jessica R. Gorman, Ph.D., MPH
Assistant Professor

Research focuses on 1) reproductive and sexual health, particularly among young adults and vulnerable populations and 2) cancer survivorship, with an emphasis on developing multilevel approaches to improve health and health-related quality of life.

Veronica Irvin, Ph.D., MPH
Assistant Professor

Research focuses on the idea that how medical and science information is presented can change someone’s behavior. Her first project assesses health literacy and communication methods in order to better understand how people manage their health. In her second project, she evaluates the content of information on clinical websites and consent forms in terms of accuracy, reading level and sentiment.

Donald B. Jump, Ph.D.

Research investigates the molecular and metabolic basis of complications associated with obesity and diabetes. His current focus is on the role diet plays in the onset and progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a major global health problem.

Sunil Khanna, Ph.D.

Research interests include the complex interrelations of biology, culture, gender, ethnicity and health in South Asia and the United States.

Cynthia Mojica, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Conducts health services research and program evaluation in cancer prevention and control among ethnic minority and underserved populations, particularly Latinos. Her research engages community-based organizations, health centers, and community members in the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions.

Javier Nieto, MD, Ph.D., MPH, MHS

Research interest are survey research, epidemiologic methods, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, and epidemiology and health consequences of sleep disorders.

Kari-Lyn Sakuma, Ph.D., MPH
Assistant Professor

Research focuses on race/ethnic disparities, particularly as it relates to tobacco use, including new and emerging products and other substances. Other areas of interest and experience are in co-parenting, sibling, obesity prevention, and substance use prevention interventions.

Sheryl Thorburn, Ph.D., MPH

Research focuses on on discrimination in healthcare, its effects on the healthcare and health-related behavior of disadvantaged populations, and its contribution to disparities in health and healthcare.

Research projects, programs and laboratories

A colloborative team of health promotion and health behavior faculty with expertise working with diverse and underserved populations both locally, regionally and globally to 1) strategize needs and priorities with communities; 2) develop and disseminate behavior change programming; 3) create and adapt program curriculum and health communication materials; 4) design and implement evaluation plans and 5) translate science into meaningful policies.

Director: Peggy Dolcini, Ph.D.

In the Opening the Conversation Study, we are interviewing young adult female cancer survivors and their partners to learn more about how they communicate with each other and with their healthcare providers about fertility, contraception, and sexual concerns after cancer. In the Mindfulness-Based Program for Sexual Health After Cancer Study, we are collaborating with Samaritan Cancer Resource Center to adapt and implement a program to help female cancer survivors manage their sexual health concerns.

Director: Jessica R. Gorman, Ph.D., MPH
Opening the Conversation website

To generate, support and disseminate research that improves understanding of diverse factors affecting sexual and reproductive health equity. Our research areas include promoting reproductive and sexual health after cancer; preventing infectious diseases among racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender minorities; and preventing unintended pregnancy and evaluating access to contraceptive and abortion services.

Co-Director: Jessica R. Gorman, Ph.D., MPH
Co-Director: Jonathan Garcia, Ph.D.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity Consortium

In this longitudinal study we examine the influence of relationship dynamics on sexual risk perceptions, intentions, and behaviors among heterosexual women and men of reproductive age at high-risk for STIs.

PI: S. Marie Harvey, DrPH, MPH

This project assesses the relationship between aging and acculturation in order to document the ethnic differences among various health indicators and health outcomes using large, secondary datasets of the older population in the U.S. and globally.

Director: Veronica Irvin, Ph.D., MPH

Series of mixed-methods studies evaluating the effects of health literacy, health information seeking, and patient navigation with types of services offered or used and patient engagement.

Director: Veronica Irvin, Ph.D., MPH

The Molecular Nutrition and Diabetes Research lab investigates the molecular and metabolic basis of complications associated with obesity and diabetes. Our current focus is on the role diet plays in the onset and progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a major global health problem.

Director: Donald B. Jump, Ph.D.
Donald Jump's profile at Linus Pauling Institute

This project examines variations in colorectal cancer screening among Medicaid patients and explores practice-level workflows associated with colorectal cancer screening.

OSU PI: Cynthia Mojica, Ph.D.
OHSU Co-I: Melinda Davis, Ph.D.

We identify the patterns of use and perceptions of new and emerging tobacco products by high risk populations. We are interested in understanding race/ethnic health disparities and designing health communications to reduce the impact of tobacco on those communities.

Director: Kari-Lyn Sakuma, Ph.D., MPH
New and Emerging Tobacco Study website

The goal of this research program is to identify and understand how factors such as discrimination in health care and stigma contribute to health-related behavior, health care utilization, health outcomes, and health disparities, with a focus on disadvantaged populations, using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Dr. Thorburn is currently Principal Investigator on an NCI-funded study designed to characterize the nature and role of stigma in the experience of survivorship, as well as identify modifiable factors that could lessen stigma’s negative impact, from the perspective of survivors of breast, prostate, and lung cancer living in rural areas.

Director: Sheryl Thorburn, Ph.D., MPH