PRC Student Featured on Arnold School of Public Health Website

USC PRC Student Danielle Schoffman researches how to leverage mobile technology into healthy outcomes

In America’s battle against climbing obesity rates and other health complications associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity, Danielle Schoffman’s research offers a possible answer: using mobile technology (e.g., apps and physical monitoring devices) in a family setting to improve healthy behaviors.

A fourth year doctoral student in the Department of Health, Promotion, Behavior, and Education (HPEB), Schoffman has been working toward these solutions since she took her first public health course, “Obesity in America,” as an undergraduate student at Stanford University. After that turning point, she pursued research projects and work experiences with the potential to impact public health on a broad scale, developing particular interests in nutrition and physical activity. Schoffman also wanted to explore how she could advance health outcomes even further by combining her research interests with the technology that seemed to dominate the San Francisco area where she grew up.

She came to the University of South Carolina to investigate the intersection of nutrition and physical activity with technology through her doctoral program. Schoffman found mentors in dissertation chair Brie Turner-McGrievy (HPEB) and co-chair Sara Wilcox (exercise science), who also supervises Schoffman’s graduate assistantship at the Prevention Research Center she directs.

“They have taught me to push myself and take measured risks in my research,” Schoffman says of her mentors. “By observing them, they have also shown me what it looks like to achieve high levels of success in many areas of their careers—continuing highly productive research programs, engaging in university and professional communities with service and leadership, maintaining reputations for being great colleagues and collaborators, and balancing all of this with their family lives. They are truly impressive and inspirational to a young researcher who is wondering if this sort of multitasking is possible.”

With their support and her own initiative, Schoffman has built an impressive portfolio of achievements (e.g., 11 publications with five more under review, Presidential Fellow, Dean’s Award for Excellence in Leadership). Schoffman also exemplifies that spirit of service she professes to admire. She has already served as president for the Graduate Student Association, which led to invitations to join numerous USC health committees. She also serves as the student chair and representative for two national health organizations.

To read more about Danielle's research, visit the full ASPH story here.