Co-Principal Investigator: Barbara Laraia, PhD MPH RD

Barbara Laraia is an Associate Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the influence of contextual level effects on dietary intake, cardiometabolic risk factors, and pregnancy outcomes. Contextual level effects refer to the household food environment, as well as the neighborhood or built environment measured by one's food, physical activity, and social environment. Her work primarily focuses on women and children.

Co-Principal Investigator: Elissa Epel, PhD

Elissa Epel is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. She is the Director of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Lab, and the Center for Obesity Assessment, Study, & Treatment, as well as Associate Director of the Center for Health and Community, and the UCSF Nutrition and Obesity Research Center. She studies psychological, social, and behavioral processes related to chronic psychological stress that accelerate biological aging. She also studies the interconnections between emotional processes, eating, and metabolism.

Co-Investigator: Pat Crawford, PhD RD

Pat Crawford is currently the Senior Director of Research at the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) and formerly served as Project Manager on the original NGHS study. Prior to NPI, she co-founded and directed the Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley for 15 years. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Her research studies ways in which nutrition programs and policies can improve children’s dietary intake and reduce obesity.

Co-Investigator: Lorrene Ritchie, PhD RD

Lorrene Ritchie is the Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI). She has devoted her career to share, synthesize, develop, and collaborate on nutrition policy research. The goal of her work is the prevention of food insecurity, obesity and diabetes, and the promotion of health and wellness. Her research interests involve evaluation of the relationship of programs and policies on children’s dietary intake and weight status in school, childcare, and other community settings.

Postdoctoral Scholar: Tashara Leak, PhD RD

Tashara Leak is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, under the advisement of Barbara Laraia. Prior to coming to UC Berkeley, she worked as a WIC nutritionistconducted community-based participatory and intervention research, and interned with the USDA/ARS Food Survey Research Group that oversees the dietary component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Her research addresses diet-related disparities experienced by low-income, ethnically diverse children and adolescents. 

Project Manager: Robin Friebur, MPH

Project Coordinator: Chandra Char, MPH

Chandra Char is the Project Coordinator for NGHS. She earned her Master of Public Health in 2015. Her graduate work focused on bridging the gap of health disparities in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, and she was awarded the “2015 Award of Excellence in Disabilities and Public Health Research” from the American Public Health Association. Chandra’s interests involve creating access to nutrition, health education and culturally competent health care services for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community and people with Disabilities. 

Project Coordinator: Armaria Arnett, BA

Biological Specimen Coordinator: Samantha Schilf, BA

Samantha Schilf is the Executive Director for the UCSF Aging, Metabolism, and Emotion Center and the Sugar, Stress, Environment, and Weight Center. She joined the UCSF Center for Health and Community as a project manager in 2010, and has supported various research efforts that examine how the stress-disease link can be broken when individuals engage in regular restorative health behaviors. Her interests also include exploring ways to utilize technology, media, and the arts to address public health issues and promote health equity.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Irene Headen, PhD

Research Assistant: Christina Becker, BA

Christina Becker has devoted her time to several projects at the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), such as the Fit Study and the California Healthy Kids Study, which both aim to improve student health in California.




Research Assistant: Kristy Brownell, BS

Kristy Brownell began her work at the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) as a research assistant for the California Healthy Kids Study. She has also enjoyed working on projects with the California Endowment and the BUSD Gardening and Cooking Program.

Research Assistant: Sabrina Clermont, BA

Sabrina graduated with a BA in Public Health. Prior to joining NGHS, Sabrina worked at UC Berkeley's Child Development Center for 3 years. At NGHS, her work consists of participant recruitment, tracking, engaging with participants at both clinic and home visits, as well as social media data management and support.

Graduate Student Assistant: Megan Flaviano, BS

Megan Flaviano is a Master of Public Health student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and studies epidemiology and biostatistics with an interest in nutrition and racial disparities. Prior to NGHS, she assisted the data team on the Children’s Health and Air Pollution Study at Cal and worked with pediatricians on community tuberculosis projects back in Washington, D.C.