School of Nursing postdoctoral scholar wins recognition from California Center for Public Health Advocacy

December 19, 2012

The California Center for Public Health Advocacy recognized Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing Postdoctoral Fellow Lori L. Miller with a 2012 Emerging Health Leader Award for Beginning Professionals.

The Center awards this honor to a student or new professional who is dedicated to and leads obesity-prevention efforts, with an emphasis on efforts to change the physical, social and economic conditions that contribute to health disparities. The recognition is one of several awards the center made as part of its 2012 Champions of Health Award Program, which recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to the health of California communities.

Lori Miller
Lori L. Miller

"I am honored to be selected for this award,” Miller said. “I truly enjoy doing this work and appreciate any attention this recognition brings to the importance of obesity prevention and healthy active living.”

Miller conducts research in the area of childhood obesity prevention and related health disparities between racial and ethnic groups. As a nurse scientist, Miller wrote her doctoral dissertation about the direct and indirect effects of schools’ policy requirements for physical education on body mass index measurements among sixth- and eighth-grade girls.

Recently, Miller designed a novel, culturally tailored pilot study in girls’ fitness that will be implemented this spring at a local Boys & Girls Club in Sacramento. The study intends to prevent unhealthy weight gain and improve the physical activity levels of pre-teen and teenage girls through a community-based, after-school program that includes interactive nutrition education, group structured physical activity and hands-on education about personal grooming and maintaining a healthy body image. 

“We want to get the youth moving after school, but we also want to make it fun and engaging,” Miller said. “This is about encouraging the adoption of healthy lifestyle choices early on in life.”

The research initiative grew out of Miller’s passion for advancing the primary prevention efforts of obesity—or prevention before the onset of the condition—especially among populations that are at an increased risk for obesity development during childhood.

Miller was nominated for the award by Deborah Ward, who is Miller’s faculty mentor and the associate dean for academics at the School of Nursing.

“Lori Miller is the perfect recipient of this award,” Ward said. “Her focus on public health—the health of populations—is seen both in her sophisticated research methods and in her personal commitment to promoting health in our young people. “

Miller earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science and a Master of Science in Public Health Genetics from the University of Washington. She earned a Master of Public Health with a focus in Epidemiology from Florida International University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Tuskegee University.

Prior to joining the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, Miller was a research engineer and scientist with the Genomics Outreach for Minorities Program at the University of Washington. She has also served in life and environmental health scientist positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, she seeks to obtain a research faculty position at a leading research institution.

The California Center for Public Health Advocacy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to creating healthier California communities by increasing awareness regarding important public health issues and promoting effective state and local health policies. Read more about the center, which is based in Davis, Calif., at

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. Through nursing leadership, the school discovers knowledge to advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and inform health policy. The school's first programs, a doctoral and a master's degree program, opened in fall 2010. Additional students and programs will be phased in over the next decade. For more information, visit

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