Virginia ChaidezAssistant Professor
BS, Foods and Nutrition, San Diego State University, 1999
PhD, Nutrition, Designated Emphasis in International and Community Nutrition, University of California, Davis, 2009
My research interests tend to focus on health disparities, particularly those affecting the Latino population including obesity, diabetes and developmental disabilities. My approach to research generally consists of mixed methods and more recently making deliberate attempts to work across disciplines for new insight and approaches to addressing complex public health problems. My research on child-feeding practices in the context of obesity prevention has provided new insight into common parenting styles of Latino families which have been shown to affect outcomes.
My research in autism have provided a better depiction of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and diagnosis disparities in Latinos; a better estimate in the prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) problems in children; and established a link between GI problems and problematic behaviors in children with ASD. Current interests are focused on working with Community Health Workers (CHW) to conduct research that informs best practices for the role CHWs can play in community health and wellness. This work will tie into more specific projects that will address health disparities including obesity, diabetes, and mental health.