Kim M. Gans, PhD, MPH

Professor, Human Development &

Family Sciences (Principal Investigator)

Research Overview

Dr. Gans research focuses on interventions in community-based settings with diverse populations to improve eating habits, increase physical activity and prevent/control obesity. She has created innovative health communication technologies to change behavior and she studies interventions to improve home, work and neighborhood environments and how these interventions interface with behavior change interventions to enhance obesity prevention. Another emphasis is on translational research to study the dissemination of effective interventions to various community and clinical settings. Her current research includes two NCI-funded studies using mobile produce markets and educational programs to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in worksites and subsidized housing sites; an NIDDK-funded study examining the effectiveness of a tailored lifestyle intervention in obese adults; a Tufts Health Foundation grant to improve the nutrition and physical activity of older adults in an assisted living community; a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to disseminate a physical activity training program to physical education teachers; an NHLBI grant to improve the environments of family child care homes to reduce childhood obesity; and a community-based participatory research planning grant from NICHD to reduce childhood obesity in Providence. Her research interests include:

  • Healthy eating/nutrition
  • Obesity prevention and treatment
  • Physical activity
  • Community-engaged research
  • Worksite, school and home-based interventions
  • Low income and ethnic minority populations
  • Innovative technology for behavior change
  • Food environments/food access
  • Translational/dissemination research
  • Health literacy
  • Physician education/training
  • Dietary assessment


Duke University, Biology, B.S., 1983
University of North Carolina, Nutrition, M.P.H., 1985
University of Rhode Island, Biological Sciences (Nutrition), Ph.D., 1992

Recent Publications


Featured Publications

Gans KM, Burkholder GJ, Upegui DI, Risica PM, Lasater TM, Fortunet R. Comparison of baseline fat-related eating behaviors of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Colombian, and Guatemalan participants who joined a cholesterol education project. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2002 Jul-Aug;34(4):202-10. PubMed PMID: 12217263.

Gans KM, Wylie-Rosett J, Eaton CE.Treating and preventing obesity through diet: Practical approaches for family physicians. Clinics in Family Practice. 2002; 4(2):1-23.

Eaton CB, McBride PE, Gans KA, Underbakke GL. Teaching nutrition skills to primary care practitioners. J Nutr. 2003 Feb;133(2):563S-6S. Review. PubMed PMID: 12566503.

Gans KM, Ross E, Barner CW, Wylie-Rosett J, McMurray J, Eaton C. REAP and WAVE: new tools to rapidly assess/discuss nutrition with patients. J Nutr. 2003 Feb;133(2):556S-62S. Review. PubMed PMID: 12566502.

Gans KM, Burkholder GJ, Risica PM, Lasater TM. Baseline fat-related dietary behaviors of white, Hispanic, and black participants in a cholesterol screening and education project in New England. J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 Jun;103(6):699-706; discussion 706. PubMed PMID: 12778040.

Gans KM, Kumanyika SK, Lovell HJ, Risica PM, Goldman R, Odoms-Young A, Strolla LO, Decaille DO, Caron C, Lasater TM. The development of SisterTalk: a cable TV-delivered weight control program for black women. Prev Med. 2003 Dec;37(6 Pt 1):654-67. PubMed PMID: 14636799.

Gans KM, Burkholder GJ Jr, Risica PM, Harrow B, Lasater TM. Cost-effectiveness of minimal contact education strategies for cholesterol change. Ethn Dis. 2006 Spring;16(2):443-51. PubMed PMID: 17682247.

Gans KM, Risica PM, Wylie-Rosett J, Ross EM, Strolla LO, McMurray J, Eaton CB. Development and evaluation of the nutrition component of the Rapid Eating and Activity Assessment for Patients (REAP): a new tool for primary care providers. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006 Sep-Oct;38(5):286-92. PubMed PMID: 16966049.

Strolla LO, Gans KM, Risica PM. Using qualitative and quantitative formative research to develop tailored nutrition intervention materials for a diverse low-income audience.Health Educ Res. 2006 Aug;21(4):465-76. Epub 2005 Nov 22. PubMed PMID: 16303783.

Gans KM, Risica PM, Kirtania U, Jennings A, Strolla LO, Steiner-Asiedu M, Hardy N, Lasater TM. Dietary behaviors and portion sizes of black women who enrolled in SisterTalk and variation by demographic characteristics. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2009 Jan-Feb;41(1):32-40. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2657871.

Gans KM, Risica PM, Strolla LO, Fournier L, Kirtania U, Upegui D, Zhao J, George T, Acharyya S. Effectiveness of different methods for delivering tailored nutrition education to low income, ethnically diverse adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009 May 5;6:24. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2688475.

Pekmezi DW, Neighbors CJ, Lee CS, Gans KM, Bock BC, Morrow KM, Marquez B, Dunsiger S, Marcus BH. A culturally adapted physical activity intervention for Latinas: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Prev Med. 2009 Dec;37(6):495-500.PubMed PMID: 19944914; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2814545.

Sheldon M, Gans KM, Tai R, George T, Lawson E, Pearlman DN. Availability, affordability, and accessibility of a healthful diet in a low-income community, Central Falls, Rhode Island, 2007-2008. Prev Chronic Dis. 2010 Mar;7(2):A43. Epub 2010 Feb 15. PubMed PMID: 20158971; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2831797.

Mello JA, Gans KM, Risica PM, Kirtania U, Strolla LO, Fournier L. How is food insecurity associated with dietary behaviors? An analysis with low-income, ethnically diverse participants in a nutrition intervention study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Dec;110(12):1906-11. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3005628.

Pekmezi D, Dunsiger S, Gans K, Bock B, Gaskins R, Marquez B, Lee C, Neighbors C, Jennings E, Tilkemeier P, Marcus B. Rationale, design, and baseline findings from Seamos Saludables: A randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a culturally and linguistically adapted, computer- tailored physical activity intervention for Latinas.Contemp Clin Trials. 2012 Nov;33(6):1261-71. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3468688.

Marcus BH, Dunsiger SI, Pekmezi DW, Larsen BA, Bock BC, Gans KM, Marquez B, Morrow KM, Tilkemeier P. The Seamos Saludables study: A randomized controlled physical activity trial of Latinas. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Nov;45(5):598-605. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2013.07.006. PubMed PMID: 24139773.

Risica PM, Gans KM, Kumanyika S, Kirtania U, Lasater TM. SisterTalk: final results of a culturally tailored cable television delivered weight control program for Black women. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013, 10 :141 (27 December 2013)

Hartman SJ, Risica PM, Gans KM, Marcus BH, Eaton CB. Tailored weight loss intervention in obese adults within primary care practice: rationale, design, and methods of Choose to Lose. Contemporary Clinical Trials, In press.


Contact Information
Mailing AddressDepartment of Human Development and Family Studies
348 Mansfield Road, Unit 1058
Storrs, CT 06269-1058

Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy
2006 Hillside Road, Unit 1248
Storrs, CT 06269-1248
Office LocationFamily Studies Building, Room 320; J. Ryan Building, Room 210A