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American Indian Healthy Eating

Multidisciplinary AIHE Research Team

Our team had expertise and experience in using public health, planning, and policy to improve the local food environment within American Indian settings.

Co-Principal Investigators

Sheila Fleischhacker Sheila Fleischhacker, PhD, JD
Sheila led the project’s development, implementation, and evaluation. Over the last 11 years, she has written an array of scientific publications, policy briefs, and law reviews on diverse health topics such as childhood obesity, health disparities, research ethics, and food safety. As an active member of the Society for Nutrition Education (SNE), Sheila helped shape SNE’s joint position on comprehensive school nutrition services with the American Dietetic Association and School Nutrition Association. Sheila received a B.S. and J.D. with a Certificate in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago and Ph.D. in Integrative Biosciences/Nutritional Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University. She was admitted to the Illinois Bar in November 2007.
Daniel Rodriquez Daniel Rodriguez, PhD
Daniel provided invaluable mentorship to the project and expertise on the food environment assessment. He is an Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Director of the Carolina Transportation Program. Daniel’s research focuses on the relationship between transportation and the built environment and behavior. At the individual level, Daniel has studied how urban form influences travel and physical activity behaviors. At the regional scale, he has studied the relationship between policies and travel patterns, and how plans can be used to strengthen the reciprocal connection between transportation and the built environment.

Team Members

Kelly Kelly Evenson, PhD
Kelly is a Research Professor of Epidemilogy. Her research focuses on the influence of the physical environment and policies on physical activity. She has collaborated on or led a number of studies on physical activity intervention, measurement, and analysis and has been awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. On this project, Kelly provided mentorship and input on the examination of the food environment for the seven participating tribes.
Amanda Henley Amanda Henley, MA
Amanda is a Geographic Informatin Systems Librarian at Davis GIS Resources. She has been integral to this project’s food environment assessment, providing guidance on a range of geographic issues from mapping the State Designated Tribal Statistical Areas to geocoding more than 3,000 food outlets.
Maihan Vu Maihan Vu, DrPH
Maihan is the Director of the Qualitative Research Unit at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Behavior in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. On this project, she provided expertise on the design, conduct, and analysis of the modified Talking Circles and key informant interviews.
Amy Ries Amy Ries, PhD
Amy was a Research Assistant Professor of Nutrition at UNC at the time of the study and is currently adjunct faculty at UNC.  She focuses on nutrition and physical activity behavior change in primarily minority and low-income populations. She examines environmental influences on physical activity and nutrition, as well as developing and testing nutrition and physical activity interventions that utilize social and environmental approaches to behavior change. Amy has extensive experience using formative and participatory research strategies for the development of behavioral interventions for minority populations. Ries conducted formative research and collaborated with the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache reservations in the development of the Healthy Food Store Interventions. On this project, Amy provided expertise on both the qualitative and spatial data analysis.
Alice-Ammerman Alice Ammerman, DrPH, RD
Alice is a Professor of Nutrition and Director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.  She is also a member of the North Carolina American Indian Health Board. Her research interests focus on the design and testing of innovative clinical and community-based nutrition and physical activity intervention approaches for chronic disease risk reduction in primarily low income and minority populations. She was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to serve on the Childhood Obesity Study Committee, charged with recommending legislative action around childhood obesity. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation, charged with the identification, translation, and dissemination of evidence-based interventions for obesity and cardiovascular disease control and prevention. On this project, Alice provided mentorship on community-academic partnerships and is helping with efforts to continue the momentum built by the American Indian Healthy Eating project.
Alex-Lightfoot Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD
Alex is an Assistant Director for Community Engagement/Partnerships Core & Community-Based Participatory Research Unit at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.  She has extensive experience fostering university-community partnerships, engaging diverse stakeholders, and generating effective strategies to enhance community and university capacity. In addition, Alex has experience in community-based participatory research, including Photovoice, and working on programs focused on eliminating disparities and promoting healthy choices and behavior to support the growth and development of youth, families, and communities. On this project, Alex provided input on community-based research partnerships, particularly grant support and related resources.
no image available Ziya Gizlice, PhD
Ziya is the Director of the Biostatistical Support Unit at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and helped with our statistical analysis for our food environment assessment.

Student Contributors

Gowri Ramachandran Gowri Ramachandran, BS
Gowri is a 2011 UNC Psychology and Anthropology graduate. For more than two years, Gowri assisted our food environmental assessment efforts and development of seven policy toolkits.
Dolly Soto Dolly Soto, MURP
Dolly is a 2011 UNC Master of Urban and Regional Planning graduate and has worked with us for more than a year on our food environmental assessment, helping with inter-rater reliability of our field observations and creating maps of each tribe’s food environment.
Leticia Brandon Leticia Brandon, BS
Leticia is a 2011 UNC Global Studies graduate.  For more than a year, Leticia assisted with the evaluation of healthy eating and active living initiatives at the tribal level.
Ingrid Ann Johnston Ingrid Ann Johnston, BA
Ingrid is a December 2010 UNC English and Spanish graduate.  She contributed to American Indian Health Eating Project by editing our dissemination materials.
Shaina Melnick Shaina Melnick
Shaina assisted the project as a high school student by identifying resources on canning best practices and food safety tips.  She is currently a food science major at Penn State University.
Puneet Singh Puneet Singh, BS
Puneet is a 2011 UNC Health Policy and Management graduate and conducted some initial research on policies and programs affecting American Indian health.
Candice Hardin Candice Hardin, BS
Candice is 2011 North Carolina State University Biological Sciences graduate.  She helped us compile a listing of state-recognized tribes and identified tribal health policies and programs.