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HHP Faculty Awarded $4.25 Million Grant from CDC.

HHP faculty from the Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) have been awarded a $4.25 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The project led by Dr. Daniel O'Connor is titled "Best Evaluation Tools & Techniques for Effective Recommendations for Policies" (BETTER Policies). This project is part of the "Affordable Care Act (ACA): Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration" grants from the CDC.

Dr. Rebecca Lee, Dr. Tracey Ledoux and Dr. Charles Layne are the other HHP faculty on the project team.

Dr. Daniel O'Connor

Dr. Daniel O'Connor

The BETTER Policies project is a collaboration of researchers from the Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) and the Texas Institute for Measurement Evaluation and Statistics (TIMES). Other researchers in this multi-disciplinary team include Dr. Alok Bhargava, from the department of Economics at UH, Dr. Paras Metha from the department of Psychology and the TIMES institute, Dr. Charles Kaplan from the Graduate School of Social Work at UH and Dr. Rifai Hanadi from the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UH.

The project will serve as an independent evaluation center for three childhood obesity demonstration projects. The aims of the BETTER Policies project are to: assist the three DP in identifying assessment methods and tools; design a comprehensive evaluation plan in collaboration with the projects and CDC; serve as the central data repository; conduct an impact evaluation to assess process and outcomes of the projects; disseminate information and recommendations to decision-makers and the public; develop an evaluation toolbox that can be used in future program evaluations.

The Texas Obesity Research Center


The Texas Obesity Research Center intends to promote interdisciplinary research, education and training and foster local community collaborations to develop state-of-the-art Obesity Prevention and Control methodologies through cross sectional and longitudinal research investigating psychosocial, environmental and biologic determinants of obesity and its consequences.

The mission of the Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) is to conduct basic and applied research in obesity prevention, treatment and control. The TORC will educate students in an interdisciplinary approach to topics related to obesity and its comorbities. TORC will enhance collaborations within and among the University community, health professionals, and social agencies on projects related to obesity and centralize efforts to obtain funding from foundations, industry, and the federal government.

Visit the TORC website

Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics

TIMES is a multi-disciplinary center whose mission is to advance knowledge about and improve the behavioral,
psychological, educational and developmental outcomes of children and adults through the application and
development of advanced measurement, evaluation, and statistical research methods, the design and
execution of high quality, cutting-edge research projects, and the delivery of state-of-the art research and
statistical support services.

Visit the TIMES website

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


For over 60 years, CDC has been dedicated to protecting health and promoting quality of life through the prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability. They are committed to programs that reduce the health and economic consequences of the leading causes of death and disability, thereby ensuring a long, productive, healthy life for all people.

Visit the CDC website