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
Principal Investigator, “Houston-area Opportunities for Undergraduate Student Training in Obesity & Nutrition (HOUSTON) Academy.” USDA NIFA (2017-67032-26021), 2017-2021 (Co-Principal Investigators: C. Johnston and C. Scott, University of Houston).
Co-Principal Investigator, “From Internships to Careers: Developing Hispanic Students through a USDA Ambassador Student Program” USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program (2015-38422-24080), 2015-2019 (Principal Investigator: J. Madera; Co- Principal Investigators: M. Dawson, J. Neal).
Co-Investigator. “A Community Collaborative for Preventing and Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities in Houston”. United Health Foundation 2016 - 2019. (Principal Investigators: D.P. O’Connor & E. M. Obasi, University of Houston)
*indicates student co-author at the time of submission
^ indicates senior author
*Powell, L., Frankel, L., & ^Hernandez, D. C. (in press). The mediating role of child self-regulation of eating in the relationship between parental use of food as a reward and child emotional overeating. Appetite. Epub: Feb 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.017
*Daundasekara, S.S., Beasley, A. D., O’Connor, D. P., Sampson, M., Hernandez, D. C., & Ledoux, T. (2017). Validation of the intuitive eating scale for pregnant women. Appetite, 112 (1), 201-209. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.001
Johnston, C. A., Moreno, J. P., Hernandez, D. C., *Reichek, B., & Foreyt, J. (forthcoming). Dissemination of an effective school-based obesity intervention for Mexican American children in schools: A randomized controlled trial. Health Behavior & Policy Review
Hernandez, D. C., *Reesor, L., & Murillo, R. (forthcoming). Gender disparities in the food insecurity-overweight and -obesity paradox among older adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Hernandez, D. C. & Johnston, C. A. (2017). Individual and environmental barriers to successful aging: The importance of considering environmental supports. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 11 (1), 21-23. DOI: 10.1177/1559827616672617
Hernandez, D. C., *Reesor, L., Reitzel, L. L., Businelle, M. S., Wetter, D. W., & Kendzor, D. E. (2017). Smoking, financial strain, and food insecurity. Health Behavior & Policy Review, 4(2), 182-188. DOI: 10.14485/HBPR.4.2.9
Moreno, J. P., Cameron, R. T., Hernandez, D. C., Vaughan, E., Foreyt, J. P., & Johnston, C. A. (2016). The impact of acculturation level on weight status and weight outcomes in Hispanic children. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 3 (4), 582-589. DOI: 10.1007/s40615-015-0177-9
Hernandez, D. C. & Johnston, C. A. (2016). Unidirectional or bidirectional relationships of behaviors: The importance of positive behavioral momentum. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 10 (6), 381-384. DOI: 10.1177/1559827616661971
Moreno, J. P., Johnston, C. A., Hernandez, D. C., LeNoble, J., Papaioannou, M. A., & Foreyt, J. P. (2016). Impact of parental weight status on a school-based weight management program designed for Mexican-American children. Pediatric Obesity, 11 (5), 354-360. DOI: 10.1111/ijpo.12066
Hernandez, D. C., Pressler, E., & Dorius, C. (2016). The role of boomerang fathers in adolescent female depression. Journal of Marriage and Family, 78 (5), 1285-1299. DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12336.
Hernandez, D. C., *Reesor, L, *Machuca, I., *Chishty, M., & *Alonso, Y. (2016). Low-income immigrant Hispanic mothers’ concerns and perceptions of their young child’s weight. Public Health Nursing, 33 (5), 412-420. DOI: 10.1111/phn.12252.
Hernandez, D. C. (2016) Latino mothers’ cumulative food insecurity exposure and child body composition. American Journal of Health Behavior, 40 (1), 92-99.
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 (1), 3-11.
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