Helen Wu, a research and policy scientist in the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement (IPHI), has been selected to receive a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Mentored Research Scientist Development Award under its Public Health Services and Systems Research Program. The award provides a two-year, $100,000 grant to promising early career researchers who are exploring innovative public health programs and practices that currently lack sufficient evidence about their effectiveness and value.
Wu, who will be mentored by Kenneth W. Kizer, distinguished professor at UC Davis and director of the IPHI, is one of only four young scholars in the nation to receive an award. Her expertise in public health, nutrition and diet led to a study published last year that examined menu entrées at several hundred major U.S. chain restaurants to determine the validity of restaurant claims that food items are now healthier.
“Dr. Wu brings great enthusiasm and creative energy to her work,” said Kizer. “and I am confident that the recommendations she develops as part of this project will materially help improve California’s obesity problem.”
The UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement is working to align the many determinants of health to promote and sustain the well-being of both individuals and their communities. Established in 2011, the institute is leading an array of initiatives, from improving health-care quality and health information exchange to advancing surveillance and prevention programs for heart disease and cancer.