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Past Projects

iCHOP Pilot Study

Increasing Culinary Health Opportunities for Professionals (iCHOP) investigated nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and self efficacy among medical students at West Virginia University. Results from a 45-item survey revealed that participants ranging from year 1 to year 4 in their medical education had positive attitudes toward nutrition in medicine, but limited knowledge and low confidence for incorporating nutrition principles in practice. Overall, 70% of medical students had no previous nutrition knowledge in the education curriculum. The results of this study demonstrate a need to increase nutrition programs in the medical school plan of study. It is important that health professionals across many disciplines have some form of nutrition education, in order to best equip a multidisciplinary team for chronic disease treatment and prevention.

YEAH Study 

Young Adults Eating and Active for Health (YEAH) study focuses on prevention of weight gain in freshmen, sophomores and juniors using a 10-week web-based interactive program targeting eating, exercise, stress management, sleep, alcohol use and tobacco use in 18-24 year olds. Quantitative and qualitative measures were taken at baseline, 3 months and 15 months. It is a USDA NRI and Hatch funded project with the partnership of 14 other universities. 

SleEP iN Study

The SleEP iN study (Sleeping Longer to Enhance Exercise Performance and Improve Nutrition) was designed in mind that collegiate athletes are a very sleep deprived group. These individuals are balancing academic, social and athletic life and perhaps dedicating minor attention to sleep. With growing research showing that extra sleep, known as “sleep extension”, not only improves performance but may also promote positive nutritional behaviors, this intervention study assessed the WVU female collegiate track and field athletes on physical and mental performance measures along with nutritional behaviors when extra sleep was given.

young girl petting a horse pulling a cartHealthy as a Horse (HAAH) Study

This project is a partnership among AND equine specialists, human nutritionists and 4-H leaders in four states to pilot test a 10-week intervention targeting prevention of weight gain in 9-11 year old girls by using the ‘HORSE as the Model’ teaching parallel health/nutrition/physical activity concepts.

image of a salad bar NUDGE SAT Study

This choice architecture in high school cafeteria study Student Assessment Tool for Lunchrooms (NUDGE SAT) was based on studies using theories from behavioral economics, combing behavioral models of psychology with decision models of economics. Specifically, behavioral economics looks at the context in which choices are made to determine how this context (referred to as “choice architecture”) may have impacted a specific decision. The goal of the project was to assess the environment and surroundings of high school cafeterias to further understand the context in which high school students make choices regarding what to eat for lunch. An assessment tool was created (Nudge SAT: Student Assessment Tool for Lunchrooms) based on current literature on smarter lunchrooms principles.

Role of the Dietitian in Multidisciplinary Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Study

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition that requires the expertise of multiple provider types to treat the syndrome in its entirety. The objective of this study was to investigate the current trends and future implications of multidisciplinary PCOS clinics while emphasizing the role and challenges for dietitians. The design was a two-phase formative investigation of PCOSfocused practitioners through an anonymous, internet-based survey followed by focus groups done via teleconference. Survey respondents and focus group participants included physicians, dietitians, health psychologists and a licensed nutritionist who treated patients with PCOS.

Eating Disorders Technology Study

Not only has the usage of technology soared in college students but eating disorders continue to increase in prevalence in this population. Although this is evident, little research has been done to identify the implementation of technology in the treatment of eating disorders in various health care settings. Therefore, by using qualitative research through surveys and focus groups, this study not only bridged that gap in the literature, but also assessed whether using such programs are useful, effective or convenient and what demographics affect the likelihood that these programs are being implemented.

Gestational Diabetes Lifestyle Intervention Study

This project is looking at women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) to ultimately provide a healthy lifestyle education program. Prevalence rates of diabetes are high nationwide, but in this specific population it can cause harm to the women along with their infants. Focus groups were conducted on postpartum women to discuss their experience with GDM, how they managed it, what diet or physical activity they had, their breastfeeding experience, and what their exposure to cigarette smoke was. From there, development of curriculum for an educational session was formed. These sessions will be a story-based approach to allow the women to provide a teach-back method on what they learned throughout the course or from their own health care providers.

rHEART: Rural Heart Health Accelerating Research Translation Study

This is a translational approach to research partnering with WVU Heart Institute and Elkins Clinic,WVU Medicine, WVU Nursing, WVU Emerging PH and WVU HR &E to pilot test an intervention that uses lifestyle behavior change approach in combination with resiliency training to enhance high risk cardiac patients using a dissemination and implementation focus.


In partnership with WellWVU and the student association, this small project is to determine if a farmer’s market on the WVU campus at the Mountainlair will validate student support and interest in access to fruits and vegetables. A further goal is to demonstrate how to use these fruits and vegetables in a dorm room or limited preparation setting.