2018 - 2019 PhD Dissertation Fellow
Monique Gill, MPH
Monique Gill is a PhD candidate in Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the healthy development of children and adolescents, primarily through examining social and physical environments in schools. Ms. Gill dissertation research aims to advance understanding of the school health environment, including the ways in which both physical and social aspects of the environment are associated with health behaviors.
Her research philosophy is grounded in the idea that community-engaged approaches, or those that promote meaningful partnership and collaboration with community stakeholders, are essential for fostering positive health outcomes.
Monique completed her undergraduate education at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and her MPH at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Prior to beginning her public health training, Monique worked as a high school science teacher in Houston.
2016 - 2017 DrPH Dissertation Fellow
Christopher Viya Chau, MS, MPH, RD
Christopher Viya Chau is committed to working at the intersection of obesity research, healthful lifestyle interventions, and nutrition program evaluation. A proud native of Los Angeles, CA, Christopher earned a BS in biology from UCLA. After joining the NYC chapter of Teach For America and earning his MS in adolescent education, Christopher taught high school and spearheaded the first nutrition and health curriculum at his school. Inspired to deepen his understanding of public health nutrition, Christopher returned to school to earn his post-baccalaureate in nutrition, MPH from UCLA, and credential as a registered dietitian. While at UCLA, Christopher served under the visionary leadership of Dr. Toni Yancey as a project coordinator for the CDC-funded UCLA REACH Healthy-By-Default Project. He collaborated with esteemed research and community partners to implement and disseminate Instant Recess® and other “healthy-by-default” strategies among African American and Latino populations, nationally. These experiences led Christopher to pursue a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree with a focus on public health nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley.
Christopher’s dissertation project aims to move the field of childhood obesity prevention forward by identifying long-term predictors of eating behavior, abdominal fat development, and heart disease risk among communities of color. His study sample consists of over 2,000 black and white girls, who were recruited from San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Washington, DC metropolitan areas and followed from 1987-1997. His work aims to expand the current obesity literature, impact clinical practice, and inform obesity prevention programs. In the future, he plans to explore how nutrition and physical activity policies and programs can change the social environment and influence behaviors of young children. Christopher hopes to continue the fight against obesity and chronic disease so that future generations can live longer—not shorter—lives than their parents.
2015 - 2016 DrPH Dissertation Fellow
KIMBERLY COLEMAN-PHOX, MPH
Kimberly Coleman-Phox is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Her research focuses on racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, especially among low-income women. With the additional health risks driven by the obesity epidemic, her dissertation research focuses on interventions to prevent excessive gestational weight gain and improve pregnancy outcomes. Her research aims to meet the needs of women at high risk for gaining excessive weight. Study participants include African-American and Latina women who were overweight or obese at the start of their pregnancy. The majority of study participants live in the northern California counties of San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa. In addition to implementing effective interventions to support healthier diets and increased physical activity during pregnancy, Kimberly is interested in identifying health protective psychological factors and incorporating strengths-based approaches in intervention development.
Kimberly Coleman-Phox received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Mills College and a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, she is the project director of the Maternal Adiposity, Metabolism and Stress Study (MAMAS) at the University of California, San Francisco. MAMAS is an NIH-funded trial centering on mindfulness-based, stress reduction, and healthy eating interventions to help overweight and obese, low-income women achieve a healthy weight gain during pregnancy.