Kim M. Gans


I am currently recruiting graduate students. Email me if you are interested.

Research Overview

Dr. Gans research focuses on interventions in community-based settings with diverse populations to improve eating habits, increase physical activity and prevent/control obesity. She has created innovative health communication technologies to change behavior and she studies interventions to improve home, work and neighborhood environments and how these interventions interface with behavior change interventions to enhance obesity prevention. Another emphasis is on translational research to study the dissemination of effective interventions to various community and clinical settings.

Her recent research includes an NIH grant to improve the environments of family child care homes to reduce childhood obesity; an NIH grant to increase physical activity in Latino men; A USDA grant to develop and pilot mHealth Enhancements for a Father-Focused Childhood Obesity Prevention Program, and 4 seed grants: 1) conducting formative research to create interventions for childhood obesity and dental caries prevention in dental practices in CT; 2) an academic-community partnership to conduct formative research with Latino mothers and fathers of preschool children to inform future childhood obesity interventions, 3) developing an audit tool for food swamp environments; 4) evaluation planning for the Healthy Hartford Food Hub. She is also currently Co-Investigator on 8 internal and external grants.

Kim’s research interests include:

  • Healthy eating/nutrition
  • Obesity prevention and treatment
  • Physical activity
  • Interventions in child care settings
  • Community-engaged research
  • Innovative technology for behavior change
  • Worksite, school and home-based interventions
  • Low income and ethnic minority populations
  • Food environments/food access
  • Translational/dissemination research
  • Health literacy
  • Physician education/training
  • Dietary assessment


Duke University, Biology, B.S., 1983
University of North Carolina, Master’s in Public Health, 1985
University of Rhode Island, Biological Sciences (Nutrition), Ph.D., 1992

Selected Publications since 2003

  • Gans KM, Kumanyika SK, Lovell HJ, Risica PM, Goldman R, Odoms-Young A, Strolla LO, Decaille DO, Caron C, Lasater TM. The development of SisterTalk: a cable TV-delivered weight control program for black women. Prev Med. 2003 Dec;37(6 Pt 1):654-67. PubMed PMID: 14636799.
  • Gans KM, Burkholder GJ Jr, Risica PM, Harrow B, Lasater TM. Cost-effectiveness of minimal contact education strategies for cholesterol change. Ethn Dis. 2006 Spring;16(2):443-51. PMID: 17682247.
  • Gans KM, Risica PM, Wylie-Rosett J, Ross EM, Strolla LO, McMurray J, Eaton CB. Development and evaluation of the nutrition component of the Rapid Eating and Activity Assessment for Patients (REAP): a new tool for primary care providers. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006 Sep-Oct;38(5):286-92. PubMed PMID: 16966049.
  • Strolla LO, Gans KM, Risica PM. Using qualitative and quantitative formative research to develop tailored nutrition intervention materials for a diverse low-income audience. Health Educ Res. 2006 Aug;21(4):465-76. Epub 2005 Nov 22. PubMed PMID: 16303783.
  • Fitzgibbon M, Gans KM, Evans WD, Viswanath K, Johnson-Taylor WL, Krebs-Smith SM, Rodgers AB, Yaroch AL. Communicating healthy eating: lessons learned and future directions. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2007 Mar-Apr;39(2 Suppl):S63-71. PubMed PMID: 17336811.
  • Risica PM, Burkholder G, Gans KM, Lasater TM, Acharyya S, Davis C, Kirtania U. Assessing fat-related dietary behaviors among black women: reliability and validity of a new Food Habits Questionnaire. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2007 Jul-Aug;39(4):197-204. PubMed PMID: 17606245.
  • Gans KM, Risica PM, Kirtania U, Jennings A, Strolla LO, Steiner-Asiedu M, Hardy N, Lasater TM. Dietary behaviors and portion sizes of black women who enrolled in SisterTalk and variation by demographic characteristics. J Nutr Educ 2009 Jan-Feb;41(1):32-40. PMCID: PMC2657871.
  • Gans KM, Risica PM, Strolla LO, Fournier L, Kirtania U, Upegui D, Zhao J, George T, Acharyya S. Effectiveness of different methods for delivering tailored nutrition education to low income, ethnically diverse adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009 May 5;6:24. PMCID: PMC2688475.
  • Pekmezi DW, Neighbors CJ, Lee CS, Gans KM, Bock BC, Morrow KM, Marquez B, Dunsiger S, Marcus BH. A culturally adapted physical activity intervention for Latinas: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Prev Med. 2009 Dec;37(6):495-500.PubMed PMID: 19944914; PMCID: PMC2814545.
  • Sheldon M, Gans KM, Tai R, George T, Lawson E, Pearlman DN. Availability, affordability, and accessibility of a healthful diet in a low-income community, Central Falls, Rhode Island, 2007-2008. Prev Chronic Dis. 2010 Mar;7(2):A43. Epub 2010 Feb 15. PMID: 20158971; PMCID: PMC2831797.
  • Mello JA, Gans KM, Risica PM, Kirtania U, Strolla LO, Fournier L. How is food insecurity associated with dietary behaviors? An analysis with low-income, ethnically diverse participants in a nutrition intervention study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Dec;110(12):1906-11. PMCID: PMC3005628.
  • Johnson P., Risica, P., Gans, K., Kirtania, U. and Kumanyika, S., Association of perceived racial discrimination with eating behaviors and obesity among participants of the Sister-Talk Study. J Natl Black Nurses Assoc, (23) 1, July 2012, 34-40.
  • Pekmezi D, Dunsiger S, Gans K, Bock B, Gaskins R, Marquez B, Lee C, Neighbors C, Jennings E, Tilkemeier P, Marcus B. Rationale, design, and baseline findings from Seamos Saludables: A randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a culturally and linguistically adapted, computer- tailored physical activity intervention for Latinas. Contemp Clin Trials. 2012 Nov;33(6):1261-71. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3468688.
  • Marcus BH, Dunsiger SI, Pekmezi DW, Larsen BA, Bock BC, Gans KM, Marquez B, Morrow KM, Tilkemeier P. The Seamos Saludables study: A randomized controlled physical activity trial of Latinas. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Nov;45(5):598-605. PubMed PMID: 24139773.
  • Risica PM, Gans KM, Kumanyika S, Kirtania U, Lasater TM. SisterTalk: final results of a culturally tailored cable television delivered weight control program for Black women. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 10:141 December 2013. PMID: 24373253 PMCID: PMC3880004
  • Hartman SJ, Risica PM, Gans KM, Marcus BH, Eaton CB. Tailored weight loss intervention in obese adults within primary care practice: rationale, design, and methods of Choose to Lose. Contemp Clin Trials. 2014 Jul;38(2):409-19. PMID: 24937016; PMCID: PMC4151311
  • Keita AD, Risica PM, Drenner KL, Adams I, Gorham G, Gans KM. Feasibility and acceptability of an early childhood obesity prevention intervention: results from the healthy homes, healthy families pilot study. J Obes. 2014;2014:378501. doi: 10.1155/2014/378501. Epub 2014 Oct 27. PubMed PMID: 25405026; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4227329.
  • Marcus BH, Dunsiger SI, Pekmezi D, Larsen BA, Marquez B, Bock BC, Gans KM, Morrow KM, Tilkemeier P. Twelve-month physical activity outcomes in Latinas in the Seamos Saludables Trial. Am J Prev Med. 2015 Feb;48(2):179-82. PMID: 25442225
  • Tovar A, Risica P, Mena N, Lawson E, Ankoma A, Gans KM. An assessment of nutrition practices and attitudes in family child-care homes: implications for policy implementation. Prev Chronic Dis. 2015 Jun 4;12:E88. PubMed PMID: 26043303; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4456854.
  • Marcus BH, Hartman SJ, Pekmezi D, Dunsiger SI, Linke S, Marquez B, Gans KM, Bock BC, Larsen BA, Rojas C. Using interactive Internet technology to promote physical activity in Latinas: Rationale, design, and baseline findings of Pasos Hacia La Salud. Contemp Clin Trials. 2015 Aug 5. pii: S1551-7144(15)30063-X. PubMed PMID: 26255237.
  • Tovar A, Mena NZ, Risica P, Gorham G, Gans KM. Nutrition and physical activity environments of home-based child care: What Hispanic providers have to say. Child Obes. 2015 Oct;11(5):521-9. doi: 10.1089/chi.2015.0040. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PubMed PMID: 26332455.
  • Gans KM, Dulin-Keita A, Risica PM, Dawood M, Strolla L. Innovative video tailoring for dietary change: Final results of the Good For You! cluster randomized trial. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015, 12:130 PMID: 26445486, PMCID: PMC4596558
  • Gorham G, Dionne L, Risica PM, Mello J, Papandonatos G, Gorham S, Dulin-Keita A, Gans KM. Effectiveness of Fresh to You, a discount fresh fruit and vegetable market in low-income neighborhoods, on children’s fruit and vegetable consumption, Rhode Island, 2010–2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:140583. PMID: 26469949, PMCID: PMC4611858.
  • Gans KM, Salkeld J, Risica PM, Lenz, E, Burton D, Mello, J, Bell JP. Occupation is related to weight and lifestyle factors among employees at worksites involved in a weight gain prevention study. J Occup Environ Med. Volume 57(10), October 2015, p e114–e120.
  • Marcus BH, Hartman SJ, Larsen BA, Pekmezi D, Dunsiger SI, Linke S, Marquez B, Gans KM, Bock BC, Mendoza-Vasconez AS, Noble ML, Rojas C. Pasos Hacia La Salud: a randomized controlled trial of an internet-delivered physical activity intervention for Latinas. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2016 13:62; DOI: 10.1186/s12966-016-0385-7; Published: 28 May 2016 PMID: 27234302, PMCID: PMC4884436
  • Gans KM; Gorham G; Risica PM; Dulin-Keita A; Dionne L; Gao T; Peters S; Principato L. A multi-level intervention in subsidized housing sites to increase fruit and vegetable access and intake: Rationale, design and methods of the ‘Live Well, Viva Bien’ cluster randomized trial. BMC Public Health. 2016:June. 16:521, PMID: 27353149, PMCID: PMC4924350
  • Eaton CB, Hartman SJ, Perzanowski E, Pan G, Roberts MB, Risica PM, Gans KM, Jakicic JM, Marcus BH. A Randomized Clinical Trial of a Tailored Lifestyle Intervention for Obese, Sedentary, Primary Care Patients. Ann Fam Med. 2016 Jul;14(4):311-9. PMID: 27401418; PMCID: PMC4940460.
  • Dulin-Keita A; Whittaker S; Wynter J; Kidanu TW; Cardel M; Chhay C; Gans K. Applying concept mapping methodology to identify the perceptions of risk and protective factors for childhood obesity among Southeast Asian refugees. J Health Care Poor Underserved.November 2016;27(4):1909-1933. PMID: 27818447
  • Hartman, S.J., Dunsiger, S., Bock, B.C., Larsen, B. A., Linke, S., Pekmezi, D., Marquez, B., Gans, K.M., Mendoza-Vasconez, A., & Marcus, B.H. (2017). Physical Activity Maintenance among Spanish-Speaking Latinas in a Randomized Controlled Trial of an Internet-based Intervention. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2017 Jun;40(3):392-402 PMID: 27752866, PMCID: PMC5393970
  • Hughes BL, Gans KM, Raker C, Hipolito ER, Rouse DJ. A Brief Prenatal Intervention of Behavioral Change to Reduce the Risk of Maternal Cytomegalovirus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Oct;130(4):726-734. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002216. PMID: 28885428.
  • Risica PM, Gorham G, Dionne L, Nardi W, Ng D, Middler R, Mello J, Akpolat R, Gettens K, Gans KM. A multi-level intervention in worksites to increase fruit and vegetable access and intake: Rationale, design and methods of the ‘Good to Go’ cluster randomized trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2018 Feb;65:87-98. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.12.002. Epub 2017 Dec 12. PMID: 29242108
  • Dulin-Keita A; Risica PM; Ahmed R; Mello, J.; Cardel M; Howe C; Nadimpalli S; Gans KM. Neighborhood social and environmental factors and fruit and vegetable intake among residents in subsidized housing. BMC Public Health. Apr. 5 2018;18:455, PMCID: PMC5887203, PMID: 29621989
  • Gans KM, Risica PM, Keita AD, Dionne L, Mello J, Stowers KC, Papandonatos G, Whittaker S, Gorham G. Multilevel approaches to increase fruit and vegetable intake in low-income housing communities: final results of the ‘Live Well, Viva Bien’ cluster-randomized trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2018 Aug 20;15(1):80. PMID: 30126463, PMCID: PMC6102886
  • Gans KM, Tovar A, Jiang Q, Mello J, Dionne L, Mena NZ, Paloma V, Risica PM. Nutrition-related Practices of Family Childcare Providers and Differences by Ethnicity. Childhood Obesity.2019 Apr;15(3):167-184. PMID:  30707598
  • Risica PM, Tovar A, Palomo V, Dionne L, Mena N, Magid K, Ward DS, Gans KM. Improving nutrition and physical activity environments of family child care homes: the rationale, design and study protocol of the ‘Healthy Start/Comienzos Sanos’ cluster randomized trial. BMC Public Health. 2019 Apr 18;19(1):419. PubMed PMID: 30999881; PMCID: PMC6472069.
  • Linke SE, Dunsiger SI, Gans KM, Hartman SJ, Pekmezi D, Larsen BA, Mendoza-Vasconez AS, Marcus BH. Association between physical activity intervention website use and physical activity levels among Spanish-Speaking Latinas: Randomized Controlled Trial. J Med Internet Res. 2019 Jul 24;21(7):e13063. PubMed PMID: 31342902.
  • Cuadrado-Soto E, Risica PM, Gans KM, Ellis C, Araujo CD, Lofgren IE, Stowers KC, Tovar A. Micronutrient adequacy in preschool children attending family child care homes. Nutrients. 2019 Sep 6;11(9). pii: E2134. PubMed PMID: 31500153; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6770721.
  • Mena NZ, Risica PM, Gans KM, Lofgren IE, Gorman K, Tobar FK, Tovar A. Communication With Family Child Care Providers and Feeding Preschool-Aged Children: Parental Perspectives. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2020 Jan;52(1):10-20. PMID: 31929040; PMCID: PMC6961812.
  • Tovar A, Risica PM, Ramirez A, Mena N, Lofgren I, Cooksey Stowers K, Gans KM.  Exploring provider-level socio-demographic determinants of diet quality of preschool aged children attending family childcare homes.  Nutrients. May 2020, 12(5), 1368. PMID: 32403299, PMCID: PMC7284878
  • Fox K, Gans KM, McCurdy K, Risica PM, Jennings E, Gorin A., Papandonatos GD, Tovar Rationale, design and study protocol of the ‘Strong Families Start at Home’ feasibility trial to improve the diet quality of low-income, ethnically diverse children by helping parents improve their feeding and food preparation practices. Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2020 Jun 16;19:100583. PMID: 32637721, PMCID: PMC7327278
  • Larsen , TJ. Benitez , AS. Mendoza-Vasconez, SJ. Hartman, SE. Linke, DJ. Pekmezi, SI. Dunsiger, JN. Nodora, KM. Gans, BH. Marcus. Randomized Trial of a Physical Activity Intervention for Latino Men: Activo. Am J Prev Med. Volume 59, Issue 2, August 2020, Pages 219-227.
  • Benitez, T.J., Dunsiger, S.I., Pekmezi, D.J., Larsen, B.A., Mendoza-Vasconez, A.S., Linke, S.E., Bock, B.C., Gans, K.M., Hartman, S.J., Marcus, B.H. Design and rationale for a randomized trial of a theory- and technology- enhanced physical activity intervention for Latinas: The Seamos Activas II study. Contemporary Clinical Trials.  Volume 96, September 2020, 106081. PMID: 32687974, PMCID: PMC7494592
  • AW Kang, TR Ash, A Tovar, KM Gans, J Minkel, , Risica. Exploring parenting contexts of Latinx 2-to-5-year old children’s sleep: Qualitative evidence informing intervention development. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 2020 Sep – Oct;54:93-100. Epub 2020 Aug 12. PMID: 32801064
  • Kang, A.W., Gans, K.M., Minkel, J. & Risica, P.M. (2020). Effects of Coparenting Quality, Stress, and Sleep Parenting on Sleep and Obesity among Latinx Children: A Path Analysis. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 2020 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32891498.
  • Risica PM, Nelson T, Camacho-Orona K, Bove G, Kumanyika SK, Odoms-Young AM, Silice M, Kirtania U, Gans KM. Emotional eating predicts weight regain among Black women in the SisterTalk intervention. In Press:
  • Kim, K., Zhang, Y., Lee, J., Meehan, T.P., & Gans, KM. (In Press). Age at HPV vaccine initiation among adolescents and young adults from 22 pediatric practices in the northeastern United States. Journal of Nursing Scholarship.
  • Cooksey Stowers, K., Marfo, N., Gurganus, E., Schwartz, M., Gans, KM., Kumanyika, S. The Hunger-Obesity Paradox: Exploring Food Banking Characteristics Perpetuating Health Inequities among Clients. PLOS One. (In press).
  • Cooksey Stowers K, Jiang Q, Atoloye A, Lucan S, Gans KM. Racial Differences in Perceived Food Swamp and Food Desert Exposure: Disparities in Self-Reported Dietary Habits. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In Press.


Kim Gans
Contact Information
Phone860 486 3865
Mailing Address348 Mansfield Road, U-1058 Storrs, CT 06269-1058 USA