Centers for Excellence


Center for Health Behavior Research



Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH
Center Director

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH is George A. Weiss University Professor, Professor of Epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine, Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing, and Director of the University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center. She is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute on Health Economics, the Center for Public Health Initiatives, and the Penn Institute for Urban Research, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. She was previously at Emory University (2004-2009), the University of Hawaii (1993 to 2004), and Temple University.

A globally influential public health scholar whose work spans psychology, epidemiology, nutrition and other disciplines, her research in community and health care settings focuses on obesity, nutrition, and the built environment; cancer prevention and control; chronic disease management and control; reducing health disparities; and health communication technologies. Her research and publications about understanding, measuring and improving healthy food environments, beginning in the 1980's, has been widely recognized and replicated. She is a member of the US Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Her scholarly contributions consist of more than 450 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Glanz is senior editor of Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (Jossey-Bass Inc.), a widely used text now in its fifth edition (2015).

Karen Glanz has a long history of leading community-based health research and programs, and currently serves in several related roles at the University of Pennsylvania. She is Director of the Community Engagement and Research (CEAR) Core of the UPenn CTSA; Director of the Pro-CEED community engagement and dissemination core of the NIMHD-funded P60 Center to Reduce Health Disparities in Prostate Cancer; Scientific Director of the Recruitment, Outcomes and Assessment Research (ROAR) Core of the Abramson Cancer Center; and Director of Research for the Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI). Previously, she was Director of the Emory Prevention Research Center, a CDC-funded center emphasizing community-based participatory research, evaluation and training (2004-2009); and the Community Health Research Program at the University of Hawaii’s Cancer Research Center (1995-2004).Dr. Glanz has been recognized with local and national awards for her work, including being apppointed to the Advisory Council for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2017.  Dr. Glanz was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. She was named a Fellow of the Society for Behavioral Medicine and received the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award. She was designated a Highly Cited Author by, in the top 0.5% of authors in her field over a 20-year period since 2006, and was namged one of The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2015 by Thomson Reuters.  

Jade Avelis, PhD, MA
Senior Research Coordinator

Jade is a senior research coordinator in the CHBR and project director for UPenn Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN). She earned her Bachelor's degree in psychology from Indiana Wesleyan University, and her MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, where she researched topics related to gender and family. Jade enjoys cooking, exploring national parks, and spending time with her husband, Alex.

Annie Chung
Senior Research Coordinator

Annie Chung is currently involved with the PRC Healthy Weigh Study, the Healthy Retail Solutions 2 Study, and a study to improve asthma control. Annie has a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Public Health. With over ten years of health research experience at the UPenn Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), she has conducted research in prostate cancer intervention, bone health, and health informatics. Annie is a lifelong Philadelphia resident and enjoys rediscovering the city, pottery, and being a brand new aunt.

Margaret Clawson, MPH
Project Coordinator

Margaret Clawson is a NEMS Master Trainer and Project Coordinator for the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey (NEMS). She received her Master's degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration in Health Behavior and Health Education. Before attending graduate school, Margaret was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, West Africa. Her interests include participatory research, minority health, obesity prevention, and translation and dissemination of research. Some of her previous work areas include HIV care, HIV prevention, youth empowerment, lay health advisors and Latino health.

Amber Cohen
Program Coordinator

Amber Cohen is a Program Coordinator with the Center for Health Behavior Research and the Administrative and Infrastructure Core for the UPenn Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC). Amber has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Richmond. When not in the office Amber is happy spending time with her family.

Brean Flynn Witmer, MA
Senior Research Coordinator

Brean is involved with research projects focusing on food environments and community nutrition. Prior to joining CHBR, Brean’s experiences included program development and implementation to promote active living to children; public health research related to youth substance use and addiction; and research with the Harvard School of Public Health on the impact of school-related nutrition policies in low income communities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bucknell University, and a joint Master of Arts in Child Development and Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Brean enjoys trips to her hometown in Maine, cooking, running and exploring new neighborhoods with her husband, Joe.

Sarah Green, MPH
Research Project Manager

Sarah Green is a Research Project Manager with the Center for Health Behavior Research and the UPenn Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC).  Sarah earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from Emory University, with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Education. Some of her research interests include obesity prevention, health promotion, community health, and translation and dissemination of research. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and her kids, Eloise and Mark. 

Betsy Kaage
Communications Coordinator

Betsy has a background in Communications and Marketing for manufacturing, small business and tourism. She enjoys exploring Philadelphia and the Mid-Atlantic coast with her family, after a move from the Midwest in 2016.

Sheila Kelly, MPH
Research Project Manager

Sheila Kelly is a Research Project Manager with the Recruitment, Outcomes, and Assessment Resource (ROAR) Core at the Abramson Cancer Center. She earned a Masters in Public Health from Boston University, focusing on Social and Behavioral Sciences, and graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English. Her research interests include social epidemiology, interpersonal violence, urban health, and health disparities. Outside of work, she enjoys running, reading, and cheering for Boston sports.

Caroline La Rochelle
Senior Research Coordinator

Caroline La Rochelle coordinates the UPenn Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC) Community Engagement Core and a skin cancer communications research study.  Previously, Caroline served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Congreso de Latinos Unidos and as a community Outreach Manager at the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education. She currently serves as a Diabetes Lifestyle Coach at the West Philadelphia YMCA. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Allegheny College in 2009 and completed a post-baccalaureate premedical program at Penn State University in 2011.

Jill McDonald, MA
Senior Research Coordinator

Jill McDonald is involved in a skin cancer communications research study and the Penn CTSA Community Engagement and Research Core (CEAR Core).  Jill received her Bachelor’s degree from Smith College and her Master’s degree from Harvard University Extension School. Prior to joining CHBR, Jill worked at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA. Jill enjoys running, cooking, and traveling. 

Stephen Menkes
Research Coordinator

Stephen Menkes is currently working on the Healthy Retails Solutions 2 Study.  Stephen has a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology, with a focus on Physical Therapy. When he is not at work, Stephen enjoys spending time with his family, running, reading, and supporting his Philadelphia Eagles.

Julia Orchinik
Research Coordinator

Julia Orchinik is currently involved with the Healthy Retail Solutions 2 Study. Julia earned her Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Biomedical Science degrees from Drexel University and holds a master's degree in Teaching from Pace University. She earned her bachelor's degree in Biology at Penn State University. Some of her previous experience includes working on the evaluation team for the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships; volunteering and interning with Prevention Point Philadelphia; and teaching middle school science in Brooklyn, NY. Julia's research interests include nutrition, obesity prevention, and community health and education. Outside of work, she enjoys kickboxing, cooking, and traveling.

Donna Pualhamus Giordano, MS, RDN
Research Project Manager

Donna works on studies focusing on food environments and their impact on public health.  She is a Registered Dietitian with experience providing clinical nutrition care and managing pediatric research programs.  She earned her Master of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Delaware and her Bachelor of Science in Applied Nutrition from the Pennsylvania State University.  Before coming to CHBR, Donna worked as a Senior Research Associate at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and managed numerous pediatric research studies focusing on bone assessment methods and became a Certified Denistometry Technologist.  Prior to this, she worked as a clinical dietitian providing nutrition care to oncology and critical care patients.  Her interests include nutrition assessment methods, nutrition and health education, disease prevention and hunger and food insecurity.   

Ryan Quinn
Research Assistant

Ryan Quinn works on the Healthy Retail Solutions 2 Study.  Ryan is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health program at Temple University. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Rowan University. Ryan’s research interests include food access and healthcare access, among other social determinants of health.

Teniola Egbe

Teniola Egbe is working on the Healthy Retail Solutions 2 study and is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health program at University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Villanova University. Teniola’s research interests include different components of global health, infectious diseases, and healthcare access. 

Yasaman Mirafzali

Yasaman serves as an Interim Project Director for The Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) as well as a Research Assistant for the Healthy Vending Study. Prior to joining the Center for Health Behavior Research, she served clinically as a Certified Medical Assistant at the Jefferson Heart Institute of Jefferson University Hospital. Yasaman earned her Bachelors in Public Health from Temple University where she is also completing her Master’s degree in Public Health.  In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her family and friends, and event planning.

Areeba Shraikh

Areeba Shaikh is working on the Healthy Retail Solutions 2 study.  She earned her Bachelors of Science in Public Health from Rutgers University, New Jersey and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at University of Pennsylvania.  Areeba is interested in maternal and infant health, nutrition, and health disparities. 

Casey Stover

Casey Stover is working on the Healthy Retail Solutions 2 study.  She is enrolled in the Master of Public Health program at West Chester University, and is also the Graduate Assistant for the Center for Healthy Schools. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Millersville University. Casey’s interests include program evaluation, school health, and health promotion.


Sandra Amaral, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Shreya Kangovi, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Lowenthal, MD, MSCE
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Senbagam Virudachalam, MD, MSHP
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
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About CHBR

Established in 2009, the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Health Behavior Research is an institution-wide collaborative effort, dedicated to conducting health behavior research, fostering advances in measurement of health behaviors, advancing the use of health behavior theory, and promoting collaboration among faculty, fellows and students. 


Contact Us

Center for Heath Behavior Research
University of Pennsylvania
837 Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021

Office Number: 215-573-4529
Fax Number: 215-573-5315