Nezami wins Gillings Dissertation Award

July 9, 2014

Brooke Nezami

Brooke Nezami

Brooke Nezami, doctoral candidate in health behavior, has received the 2014 Gillings Dissertation Award, a $5,000 prize funded through the Gillings gift. Nezami’s dissertation, “Healthy Weight Behaviors and Weight Change in Parents and Children Ages 3-5,” focuses on the prevention of childhood obesity through a family-based approach.

Nezami will use an intervention called SmartMoms that adapts the traditional weight-loss intervention to focus on sugar-sweetened beverages and other 100-calorie behaviors in mothers and young children.

“Because interventions targeting this group have been unsuccessful previously, SmartMoms will use a mobile app to increase maternal adherence and success,” Nezami said.

She will use the award to widen the intervention, offer incentives to participants and disseminate her results to a broad audience.

“Brooke’s work is innovative and targets women and children to promote improved nutrition using technologies that are easy to disseminate,” said Deborah Tate, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and health behavior at the Gillings School and one of Nezami’s advisers.

Tate noted that among other accomplishments, Nezami had received a Meritorious Student Award for an abstract at the 2013 Society of Behavioral Medicine national conference. “Brooke has proven herself to be an exceptional and determined student, a bright and motivated person with ambitious professional goals and a strong commitment to public health,” Tate said.


Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or