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About Us

Tobacco Research and Evaluation Team

University of Texas at Austin

College of Education
Department of Kinesiology & Health Education
2109 San Jacinto Blvd., Mail Stop D3700
Austin, Texas 78712

uttobacco@utexas.edu

See Former Team Members

 

 


Staff Biographies
 

Alexandra Loukas, Ph.D., Principle InvestigatorAlexandra Loukas, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
alexandra.loukas@austin.utexas.edu

Alex is a Professor and Program Director of Health Behavior and Health Education in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on adolescent and young adult health, particularly adolescent aggression and tobacco use and cessation in disparate populations. Alex has a special interest in examining how factors from multiple ecological levels (e.g., family, school, culture) interact to protect adolescents and young adults from negative health outcomes. In addition to the projects described on the website, she has served as Principal Investigator on studies funded by the National Cancer Insititute to examine the associations between stress, depressive symtpoms and tobacco use in vocational school  students and to test the feasibility of a web-based smoking cessation program for this population.


Shelley Karn, EdD., Program DirectorShelley Karn, EdD.
Program Director
shelleykarn@austin.utexas.edu

Shelley is the Project Director for the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team with the University of Texas at Austin, Kinesiology and Health Education Department. The projects include community coalition evaluation as well as clinical interventions for systems change for tobacco cessation. Shelley also directs the development and implementation for a statewide college initiative focused on reducing life-long initiation for tobacco use. She has more than 15 years of experience in prevention initiatives including tobacco cessation, cancer control initiatives, comprehensive pregnancy prevention programs, nutrition education, and school health projects. Shelley is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist and works to incorporate simple solutions to adhere to the requirements of the new reform policy.  


Keryn E. Pasch, M.P.H, Ph.D.
Project Co-Investigator
kpasch@austin.utexas.edu

Keryn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Keryn is a co-investigator on the FDA/NIH study, Project M-PACT.  She received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology with a minor in Interpersonal Relationships Research from Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota and her Master's in Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Keryn's research program focuses on the influence of media on youth risk behaviors as well as the factors that may alter the influence of advertising. Her research also focuses on how risk behaviors, including substance use, obesity-related behaviors, sleep, and energy drink consumption, may co-occur among youth and developing preventive interventions to address these behaviors.


Sherman Chow M.P.H., M.A Senior Program CoordinatorSherman Chow M.P.H., M.A
Senior Research Coordinator
schow480@austin.utexas.edu

Sherman is the Sr. Research Coordinator for the NIH-funded research study, Tobacco Marketing and Alternative Tobacco Use among College Students. He joined the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team in January 2014. Before joining the team, Sherman coordinated numerous research studies on childhood obesity in Central Texas. Sherman specializes in qualitative methods and mixed-methods research.


Lara Latimer, Ph.D.
Senior Research Coordinator/Lecturer
lara.a.latimer@utexas.edu

Lara is the Senior Research Coordinator on the College Tobacco Initiative with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team at the University of Texas at Austin. Lara also teaches Child, Adolescent, and Adult Health, a core undergraduate course in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Health Education from The University of Texas at Austin, and her B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. Lara has experience with examining nutrition-related behaviors and associated factors among elementary- and middle-school age youth, tobacco surveillance and other health behaviors among college students, and weight-loss with lower-income, postpartum women. 


Ann Marie Newman, B.A., Senior Project CoordinatorAnn Marie Newman, B.A.
Senior Outreach Coordinator
annmarie.newman@austin.utexas.edu

Ann Marie is a Sr. Outreach Coordinator with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team at the University of Texas at Austin. Her primary focus is to coordinate with health care systems across Texas in implementing the eTobacco Protocol. Her responsibilities include community outreach, training and demonstrating the value of the eTobacco Protocol, working with electronic medical records companies, and collaborating with other statewide entities who have an interest in tobacco cessation. Ann Marie’s background is in diversity and inclusion that includes work experience with the American Cancer Society, UNICEF-Mexico, and Kingston Legal Aid Clinic.


Darrien Skinner, B.S.
Outreach Coordinator
darrien.skinner@utexas.edu

Darrien is the Outreach Coordinator on the College Tobacco Initiative (Peers Against Tobacco) with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team at the University of Texas at Austin. His secondary focus is to coordinate with pediatric health care systems across Texas in implementing the eTobacco Protocol. Before joining the team, Darrien coordinated public relation efforts for the Say What! Texas Middle & High School Tobacco Prevention Initiative conducted by the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University. Darrien was awarded the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids 2013 Western Region Youth Advocate of the Year and was a Fellow for the Truth Initiative in 2015-2016. 


Trina Robertson, M.A., Senior Project CoordinatorTrina Robertson, M.A.
Senior Outreach Coordinator
trinar02@austin.utexas.edu

Trina is a Sr. Outreach Coordinator across projects for the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996 with an M.A. in Education. She has worked on research and evaluation of health promotion and educational programs since 1991. Trina has worked on a variety of projects, including tobacco control, breast cancer screening outreach, health disparities, comprehensive cancer control, school-based pregnancy and parenting education, literacy, and violence prevention programs. Much of her work has involved collaborations between educational institutions, social service agencies, and state and/or federal agencies.


Deepti Agarwal, M.S.S.W., M.A. Doctoral Student, Graduate AssistantDeepti Agarwal, M.S.S.W., M.A.
Doctoral Student, Graduate Assistant
deepti.agarwal11@utexas.edu

Deepti joined the Health Behavior and Health Education graduate program as a doctoral student in Fall 2014. Her professional interests and goals are to publish relevant research on alternative tobacco products and tobacco cessation, and to advocate for alleviation of risky health behavior by making research based recommendations for effective smoking cessation programs. Her interests also include theatre, swimming, cycling, and trying new coffee shops around Austin.


Alejandra Fernandez, M.S. Graduate Research AssistantAlejandra Fernandez, M.S. 
Doctoral Student, Graduate Assistant
alejandra.fernandez@utexas.edu

Alejandra is a doctoral student in Health Behavior and Health Education and a Graduate Research Assistant with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Health Education from Texas A&M University. Alejandra’s area of research focuses on internalizing and externalizing problems in minority youth and ways that various forms of social support and cultural factors, such as acculturation, moderate these outcomes. When Alejandra is not doing research, she enjoys training for marathons and exploring new restaurants around Austin.


Lou Ann Grossberg, M.A., Senior Program Coordinator

Lou Ann Grossberg, M.A.
Doctoral Student, Graduate Assistant
louann.grossberg@austin.utexas.edu

Lou Ann is a doctoral student in Health Behavior and Health Education and the evaluation coordinator for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition program. She joined the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team at the University of Texas at Austin in September of 2013. Prior to working with the University of Texas, she was responsible for managing a federal primary and preventive healthcare grant for 14 county health departments. Lou Ann has over fifteen years of experience working in public health planning, program development and evaluation, management, and research.


Tres Hinds, B.S., Master's Student, Graduate AssistantTres Hinds, M.S.
Doctoral Student, Graduate Assistant
josephine.t.hinds@utexas.edu

Tres is a doctoral student in Health Behavior and Health Education and a Graduate Research Assistant with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. She received her M.S. in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Texas and her B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point. It was through her service in the Army that Tres became interested in tobacco use among young adults and other lifestyle factors that affect health outcomes. Her interests include camping, weight lifting, and exploring Austin by bicycle.


Xiaoyin Li, M.A., M. S., Doctoral Student, Graduate AssistantXiaoyin Li, M.A., M. S.
Doctoral Student, Graduate Assistant

lixiaoyin@utexas.edu

Xiaoyin is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Health Behavior and Health Education and a Graduate Research Assistant with the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team. She received her M.S. in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Cincinnati. Her primary interests surround risky behaviors, particularly tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, and injury among adolescents and young adults. Other research interests include psychosocial determinants of depression and effects of physical activities across the lifespan. Xiaoyin is enthusiastic about life and enjoys statistics, yoga, cycling, and traveling.