Current Health Behavior Science & Promotion Students

DOCTORAL STUDENTS

Nicole Berzins

Mentor: Michael Mackenzie, PhD
Email: nicolejb@udel.edu

Full Bio

Nicole Berzins is a third year PhD student in Health Behavior Science and Promotion. Her research interests are broadly in the area of understanding how behavioral and lifestyle modifications can be utilized as a means of management, treatment, and/or prevention of chronic disease. For the last two years she has led the implementation of a community-based health coaching intervention for cancer survivors. She has presented this work at the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) annual meeting where it was recognized as Meritorious Abstract. Prior to starting the PhD program, Nicole spent ten years working in clinical laboratory settings.

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Megan Heintzelman

Mentor: Gregory Dominick, PhD
Email: mheintz@udel.edu

Full Bio

Megan Heintzelman is a second year PhD student in the Health Behavior Science and Promotion program. Her research focuses on approaches to using wearable activity trackers to promote physical activity in high-risk populations. She is also interested in women’s health, specifically, reproductive health. For the last year, Megan has worked in Dr. Dominick’s Physical Activity Measurement and Evaluation Lab on NIH- and NSF-funded grants examining the use of Fitbit devices to prescribe and track physical activity and sleep among middle-aged adults. She is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

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Paige O'Sullivan Laxton, MS, CTRS, CBIS

Mentor: Sean Healy, PhD
Emailpolaxton@udel.edu

Full Bio

Paige Laxton is a first year PhD student in Health Behavior Science and Promotion with a focus on adapted physical activity. Her research interests include leisure-time physical activity in adults with intellectual disabilities, community-based participatory research, and technology-based physical activity interventions. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Prior to starting the Doctoral program, she developed and managed a structured day program for adults with brain injuries that focused on increasing overall health and wellness through recreation.

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Brittany Powers, MPH

Mentor: Sean Healy, PhD and Freda Patterson, PhD
Emailbblument@udel.edu

Full Bio

Brittany Powers is a part-time student in the PhD in Health Behavior Science and Promotion program. Her research focuses on improving the health and well-being of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently, she is working to analyze data from a national sample of adults with autism that she collected with Dr. Healy. They are examining multi-level determinants of health-related-time-use in this high-risk population that will inform targeted interventions to improve cardiometabolic health behaviors. Ms. Powers works at the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies as the Interim Director of Health & Wellness. Among her tasks in this role, she solicits external funding to support programming to serve individuals with disabilities and their families. She is also responsible for program implementation and evaluation.  

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Hema C. Ramamurthi, MBBS

Mentor: Laurie Ruggiero, PhD
Emailhcramamu@udel.edu

Full Bio

Hema Ramamurthi is a first year PhD student in Health Behavior Science and Promotion. Her research focuses on the use and efficacy of behavioral change interventions to promote mental health, delivered across a variety of information and communication technology (ICT) interfaces. Her overarching goal is to address health disparities resulting from inequities in technology access. Ms. Ramamurthi has over 10 years of experience operationalizing several behavioral change interventions to reduce risk of HIV/AIDS, promote self-management of hypertension, and detect early onset of respiratory distress.

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POST-DOCTORAL ASSOCIATES

Elissa Katulka, PhD

Mentor: Freda Patterson, PhD
Email: ekatulka@udel.edu

Full Bio

Dr. Katulka graduated with a PhD in Applied Physiology in May 2020 under the mentorship of Dr. Melissa Witman. Her dissertation examined the relationship between sleep regularity with sub-clinical markers of cardiovascular disease in college students. As a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, she will continue to examine the influence of multidimensional behaviors (sleep, physical activity, diet) on cardiovascular health in young adulthood. She will also work with Dr. Patterson on her NIH-funded studies that are examining the prospective relationship between sleep health and the progression of cardio-pulmonary disease in low-socioeconomic populations, and the effects of improving sleep health on smoking cessation and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with HIV.

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