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Administration Team

The Center for Transnational Health Administrative Team provides all administrative oversight and support for the Center's research grants programs. The main areas of oversight include fiscal management and compliance, research administration and compliance, grant application development, and grant reporting. All grant-related personnel processes, including payroll, hiring, and employee relations are managed through the Center's administrative team at the D Street office in Davis. Research administration ensures compliance with Institutional Review Board (IRB), university and sponsor policies, working closely with the investigator team and field staff at all times.

Team members are able to provide information as follows:

Elizabeth Bishay, Director of External Grants: grant application development, IRB administration, reporting. Liaison to IRB Administration, Sponsored Programs, Grant Sponsors. Wanda Castillo, Administrative Assistant: equipment and supplies purchasing, equipment inventory, travel reservations and payment, Safely Officer, transportation oversight, and stipend processor.

Linda Whent, Ph.D., Director of Post-Award Grants: Oversees grant budgets, purchasing, and travel, supervises staff, supports grant application development and reporting. Carrie Whitecotton, Business Analyst: hiring and payroll, manages grant accounts, liaison with Contract and Grants, Human Resources, and Hart Hall Director.

Erin Belshaw, Student Assistant: supports the work on the Analyst and Admin. Assistant. Helps up-date Center Website, files, supports the work of data management.

Art Team


The overall goal of the art team is to integrate community-based art projects focused on empowering families, schools and communities. Community art tools and strategies, including murals, are used to engage and involve community members. Two summer mural projects in the comparison community of San Joaquin have been carried out through collaboration between UCD faculty, staff, undergraduate students, as well as members of the community, including local high school students. The UCD team recruits local community members to participate in mural development activities, including mural content meetings. Once the content is finalized, the team spends approximately two weeks in the community painting the mural.

A corresponding series of community-based art interventions also occurs within the intervention community of Firebaugh. These interventions include a series of limited edition screenprints that provide a visual representation of the proposed interventions.

Through the poster and murals, the art team has supported the interventions and given a voice to issues at hand in these communities. It is our hope that through the art projects provided, a positive and social change can occur in these communities.


CulturArte: An Evaluation of Community-Based Art Projects in Rural Communities in California. (Manuscript in progress)

Youth Engagement: A University-Community Partnership, Chicana/o Studies Curriculum, and Community Art Projects. (Manuscript in progress)

Team members

Carlos F. Jackson and Olivia Hernandez

Community Engagement


The goal of the community engagement team is to work with the comparison communities within the Golden Plains Unified School District. The team collaborates with the field staff, the art team and the promotoras (community health coaches) to develop activities in the communities.

During the initial phase of the study, the team engaged in a community-based research approach to identify a consensus of needs through a dialogue with community members and local stakeholders. After several conversations with the community members, the team concluded that a primary goal was to develop activities that link the school and community and those which promote family well-being. The team has developed a series of monthly workshops that focus on educational enhancement and family well-being.

Team Members

Yvette G. Flores, Rosa D. Manzo, Araceli Gonzalez
Activities: Link to google calendar with schedule of workshops

Economic Team

The economic component of Niños Sanos, Familia Sana was developed to enhance and characterize findings from the nutrition education component with financial data that would illuminate the impact of income on food purchases.  This enhancement developed from earlier studies that indicated the high cost of fruits and vegetables may be a barrier to healthy eating.  The economic component provides a monthly financial incentive to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Each participant in the treatment group has been given an electronic debit card that has $25 automatically uploaded per month. The electronic debit cards (voucher) can be used at the main retail food store in the intervention town. This store is WIC certified and therefore provides adequate access to fruits and vegetables.

Team Members: Adela de la Torre (Principal Investigator), Richard Green (Co-Investigator), Rosa Gomez-Camacho (Post-Doctoral Researcher), and Meagan Hanbury (Post-Doctoral Researcher) Activities:
Spring of 2012: Shopping Survey
Fall 2012: Launch of voucher program
Fall 2013: Budgeting workshop
Ongoing activities: Household Survey collection, scanner data collection, receipt collection, distribution of voucher funds.


de la Torre, A., R. Green, and L. Kaiser.  "Identifying Factors That Contribute to High Rates of Obesity in Mexican-Origin Children." ARE Update, Vol. 16. No. 2. Nov/Dec. 2012.


Working Papers:

Effects of Socioeconomic and Demographic Factors on Mexican-origin Children's BMI

Low-income Mexican Immigrants and the U.S. Safety Net

Benefit Transfers, Food Expenditure, and Weight among Mexican-Origin Women

Field Team

Field Team members lead the recruitment and retainment efforts of research study participants.  Acting as the link between the research team and the communities in which the research is conducted, Field Team members communicate with study participants to collect data and support the implementation of the intervention.  Team members work with the communities of Firebaugh, San Joaquin, Tranquillity, Helm, Cantua Creek and Three Rocks. Working with these communities enables the Field Team to provide ongoing firsthand knowledge of the communities in which they live and work to the Davis team. 

Field Staff



Maria Isabel Rangel


Site Coordinator

Ivan Garcia


Administrative Assistant

Judith Martinez


Health Educator

Maria Rios



Sandra Coronado


Data Collector

Beatriz Arroyo


Data Collector

Rosalba Linares


Data Collector

Lupita Hernandez

San Joaquin

Data Collector

Janette Higuera

San Joaquin 

Data Collector

Jessica Estrada

San Joaquin 

Data Collector

Rocio Avalos

San Joaquin 

Data Collector 

Medical Team

The medical team is responsible for the collection of anthropometric measurements, including height, weight, abdominal circumference, and skinfold thicknesses in all the eligible participants in our NSFS project twice a year. The medical team also coordinates health promotion events in the participating communities, including health fairs and educational workshops such as:

• Women's Health
• Covered California
• Men's Health
• Meditation and Yoga


Dr. Banafsheh Sadeghi (Co-I), Dr. Ulfat Shikh (Co-I, medical team pediatrician advisor), Lisa Martinez, Dr. Sara Schaefer, Mayra Munoz-Gomez, Albert Aguilera, Angela Angel


Sadeghi B, de la Torre A, Schaefer SE, Shaikh U (2013). Preliminary Analysis of Baseline Data for Niños Sanos, Familia Sana. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45(4S): S89-S90.

De La Torre A, Sadeghi B, Green RD, Kaiser LL, Flores YG, Jackson YG, Shaefer SE, Shaikh US, Whent LS (2013). Niños Sanos, Familia Sana: Mexican Immigrant Study Protocol for Multifaceted CBPR Intervention to Combat Childhood Obesity in Two Rural California Towns. BMC Public Health, 13(1033).

Nutrition Team

The Nutrition Team provides nutrition education to families enrolled in the Niños Sanos, Familia Sana obesity-prevention intervention.  Throughout the span of the intervention, parents attend Family Nights where they receive nine key messages to prevent childhood obesity. These messages were developed and tested in focus groups to make them suitable for the audience. These key messages aim to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables and increase physical activity.  Concurrently, the children in these families receive nutrition education at school, provided by University of California Cooperative Extension staff from Fresno County.

Team members: Alberto Aguilera, Lynette Brewer, Michele Byrnes, Dorina M. Espinoza, Caitlin French, Marcel Horowitz, Margaret C. Johns, Lucia Kaiser, Cathi Lamp, Judith Martinez, Mayra Muñoz Gomez, Lenna Ontai, Constance Schneider, Kristen Stenger,




Aguilera, A. L., Manzo, R. D., Vera-Becerra, L.V., Figueroa, E., Hemmi-Campos, N., Kaiser, L.L., De la Torre, A.Voces Campesinas:  A qualitative study to develop a community-based childhood obesity intervention. In progress.

Link to project photos

Physical Activity Team


The goal of the physical education team is to assess the level of physical activity that participants engage in daily. The work of the team includes increasing the level and overall quality of formal and informal physical activities in the community. The establishment of regular physical activity during childhood is an important contributor to the prevention of obesity and chronic disease. National guidelines recommend that children engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity 60 minutes daily.

School Intervention

Interventions include physical education activities that take place in public and private schools in the Firebaugh area lead by Dr. Linda Whent. School based physical activities include use of the Early Childhood and K-3 SPARK physical activity manuals. Dr. Linda Whent, working in partnership with the high school coach Jim McCall engage pre-school through 3rd grade students in SPARK physical activities. In school physical activity measurements are collected via weekly teacher surveys

Family Workshop Interventions

Dr. Kaiser and Michele Byrnes developed informational lessons to engage parents in their children's physical activity. These lessons were delivered through local family workshops by Michele Byrnes and Judith Martinez.

Accelerometer Evaluation

As part of Niños Sanos Famila Sana, children learn about their physical activity using the PolarActive™, a wrist worn, waterproof physical activity monitor that provides continuous 24-hour measurement of time in five intensity zones (very easy, easy, moderate, vigorous, and vigorous+), sleep duration, number of active steps and total energy expenditure. Dr. Schaefer and researchers collect and use physical activity to observe children's physical activity and how it changes over time in relation to health indicators like Body Mass Index (BMI).

Resources (Español as well):

Links: SPARK Website

Foods for Health Institute

Polar Education