My graduate and postdoctoral training were in the areas of psychological services, developmental psychology, poverty, and public policy with mentors whose backgrounds were in psychology, sociology, and economics. Thus, I have been trained across several social science disciplines, and consequently, I do not identify with one particular discipline. The majority of my interdisciplinary research program is centered around family-related factors, such as poverty and family structure, and their influence on food insecurity/food assistance program participation (i.e. indicators of poverty) and obesity; however, I also realize that nutrition and health do not occur in isolation. For that reason, I have also focused on stress, social support, depression, and cardiovascular health.
My target populations are socio-economically disadvantaged and vulnerable groups with a specific emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities, women, and children. To conduct my research I have primarily used longitudinal secondary data, but I have recently begun a complementary focus on community-engaged research. My interdisciplinary focus has provided me the opportunity to make significant contributions to various disciplines, including child development, family, and public health.
Recent Publications and Research Activity
Selected Funded Grants
Co-Project Director “From Internships to Careers: Developing Hispanic Students through a USDA Ambassador Student Program” USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program (USDA-NIFA-HSI-004449), 2015-2019 (Project Director: Juan Madera; Co-Project Directors: M. Dawson, J. Neal).
Scholar, “Demographic and Socio-economic Determinants of Food Insecurity and Food Assistance Program Participation and Their Relation to Women’s Body Mass Index (BMI).” NIH/ORWH K12 Program in Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH). 2010-2012 (PI: C. Weisman).
Principal Investigator, “Trends in Food Assistance Program Participation on Childhood Weight Trajectories.” United States Department of Agriculture Research Innovation and Development Grant in Economics (RIDGE) Grant, 2008-2009 with L. Francis.
*indicates student co-author at the time of submission
^ indicates senior author
Moreno, J. P., Cameron, R. T., Hernandez, D. C., Vaughan, E., Foreyt, J. P., & Johnston, C. A. (forthcoming). The impact of acculturation level on weight status and weight outcomes in Hispanic children. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
Hernandez, D. C. (forthcoming) Latino mothers’ cumulative food insecurity exposure and child body composition. American Journal of Health Behavior.
Moreno, J. P., Johnston, C. A., Hernandez, D. C., LeNoble, J., Papaioannou, M. A., & Foreyt, J. P. (in press). Impact of parental weight status on a school-based weight management program designed for Mexican-American children. Pediatric Obesity.
Reitzel, L. R., Okamoto, H., Hernandez, D. C., Regan, S. D., McNeill, L. H., & Obasi, E. (2016). The built food environment and dietary intake among African-American adults. American Journal of Health Behavior, 40, 3-11.
*Kabiri, L. S., ^Hernandez, D. C., & Mitchell, K. (2015). Reliability, validity, and diagnostic value of a pediatric bioelectrical impedance analysis scale. Childhood Obesity, 11 (5), 1-6. DOI: 10.1089/chi.2014.0156.
Hernandez, D. C. & Pressler, E. (2015). Gender disparities in the association between cumulative stress and adolescent weight status. Preventive Medicine, 73, 60-66. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.01.013.
*Soltero, E.G., Hernandez, D. C., O’Connor, D. P., & Lee, R. E. (2015). Does social support mediate the relationship among neighborhood disadvantage, incivilities, crime and physical activity? Preventive Medicine, 72, 44-49. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.030
*Okamoto, H., *Fisher, F. D., Hernandez, D. C., Reitzel, L. R., Kendzor, D. E., Kish, D., & Businelle, M. S. (2015). Trait mindfulness and stress among homeless adults. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 2, 122 – 129. DOI: 10.14485/HBPR.2.2.4.
Hernandez, D. C. (2015). The impact of cumulative family risks on various levels of food insecurity. Social Science Research, 50, 292-302. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.12.007.
Hernandez, D. C., Reitzel, L., Wetter, D. W., & McNeill, L. (2014). Social support and cardiovascular risk factors among Black adults. Ethnicity and Disease, 24, 444-450.
Hernandez, D. C. & *Pressler, E. (2014). Accumulation of childhood poverty on young adult overweight or obese status: Race/ethnicity and gender disparities. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 68, 478-484. DOI: 10.1136/jech-2013-203062.
Hernandez, D. C., *Pressler, E., Dorius, C., & Mitchell, K. S. (2014). Does family instability make girls fat? Gender differences between instability and weight. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76, 199-214. DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12080.
Hernandez, D. C., Marshall, A., & *Mineo, C. (2014). Maternal depression mediates the association between intimate partner violence and food insecurity. Journal of Women’s Health, 23(1): 29-37. DOI:10.1089/jwh.2012.4224.
A.B. in Psychology; Certificate in Spanish at Princeton University, 1998
MSEd in Psychological Services at University of Pennsylvania, 2000
Ph.D. in Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology at Boston College, 2005
Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Research and Training Program on Poverty and Public Policy at University of Michigan, 2005 - 2007