Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, an Associate Professor of Nutrition at the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, has agreed to helm the new Master’s of Science in Obesity Prevention and Management.
Ohri-Vachaspati holds a Ph.D. in Applied Nutrition and Food Policy from Tufts University School of Nutrition and is also a Registered Dietitian. Her current work focuses on understanding the social-ecological determinants of obesity. She is a PI on a recently funded longitudinal study from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which investigates the influence of changes in food and physical activity related environments on childhood obesity and related behaviors. She assesses the impact of food environments and policies in schools, childcare centers, and in community settings. She also studies the role of food marketing in driving behaviors.
Ohri-Vachaspati envisions the master’s degree as an “innovative, interdisciplinary degree that draws on a wide array of expertise at ASU to integrate perspectives from the social, applied, life, and health sciences, providing advanced graduate level problem-focused, experiential training that is grounded in evidence and best practices for effective prevention and management of obesity.”
“This degree is geared toward post-baccalaureate students and professionals who wish to advance their understanding of social, cultural, health, and psychological issues associated with obesity,” she adds. “The program will help prepare a workforce that understands the multifaceted nature of the problem and is trained to develop effective solutions at the individual and population levels.”