Healthy Weight Initiative

Leadership for the Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Fitness Initiative is based in the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital.


Initiative Leads

Elissa Jelalian, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Professor of Pediatrics, Warren Alpert Medical School | Pediatrics Senior Research Scientist, The Miriam Hospital​
Dr. Elissa Jelalian is Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Pediatrics and Senior Research Scientist at The Miriam Hospital.  Her research focuses on development and implementation of weight control interventions for children and adolescents, as well as dissemination of evidenced based treatments to community and clinical care settings.  She also has interest in understanding the health implications of obesity-related policies.


Erika Werner, MS, MD
Director, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Women and Infants | Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University | Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Brown School of Public Health
Dr. Werner is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist who completed her Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship at Yale University.  She has published widely on cost effectiveness. Her current research focuses on diabetes in pregnancy, preeclampsia and preterm birth. She is particularly interested in the effects of pregnancy on long term health for both the mother and infant. She has several ongoing trials at Women & Infants Hospital and is the alternate PI to NICHD-funded Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit Network.


Rena Wing, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School | Director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital​
Dr. Rena Wing is Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital.  She is an internationally recognized leader in the development of behavioral approaches to weight loss and weight loss maintenance.  Dr. Wing has been continuously funded by NIH for the past 35 years to conduct work related to obesity, weight gain prevention, and type 2 diabetes. She also has interest in interventions to decrease gestational weight gain and reduce obesity in pediatric populations. 



E. Whitney Evans, PhD, RD

Andrea B. Goldschmidt, PhD


Mary Jane Boutin, Administrative Assistant

Denise Fernandes, B.A., Research Assistant

Whitney Howie, MPH, Project Coordinator

Julia Sprenger, B.A. Research Assistant


Hassenfeld Scholars

Kaley O’Connor, 2017, Project Title: Association between accessibility of unhealthy foods in the home and child weight status

Kate Magid, 2017, Project Title: Association between participation in the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the household food environment

Cate Marchetti, 2018, Project Title: Association of consumption of food away from the home with home food environment and body mass index in elementary school children

Hannah Ziobrowski, 2018, Project Title: Caregiver stress and child summer weight gain

Brown Medical Students

Kira Bromwich, 2019, Project Title: Association between language barriers and gestational weight gain

Andrew Del Re, 2018, Project Title: Parent perceptions of neighborhood safety and participation in the Summer Food Service Program

Hiba Dhanani, 2016-17, Project Title: The relationship between the neighborhood and home food environments among low-income families with school-age children