Two education professors honored for work in health & nutrition

Nora, Khator, and RebeccaNorma Olvera and Rebecca Lee, University of Houston associate professors of health and human performance, were named honorees at the National Minority Cancer Awareness Week Eighth Annual Symposium. The luncheon honored community-based organizations and individuals for their positive impact on minority health and health disparities in local minority and underserved communities. The ceremony, hosted by The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, featured UH President Renu Khator, who delivered the keynote address.

Olvera is the director of BOUNCE, Behavior Opportunities Uniting Nutrition Counseling and Exercise, a summer camp for minority middle school girls, which focuses on nutrition, exercise, body image and self esteem. The program, which began in 2005, was recognized by the Public Health Association as one of the best and innovative nutrition and physical activity programs in the state. Olvera also has designed, implemented and evaluated many community obesity prevention and treatment programs.

Lee is director of the UH Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) and the principal investigator of the Health Is Power program, a five-year, National Institutes of Health-funded study to increase physical activity in African-American and Hispanic women in Houston and in Austin.

TORC recently held its first conference on obesity, bringing to campus researchers from across the country.

Two other researchers also were recognized: Martha Hargraves, the former director of health policy and health services research, and associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and Jason Mendoza, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics, section of academic general pediatrics and Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.