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Jini Puma, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Research Interests:
  • Obesity prevention in early childhood
  • Refugee/ immigrant health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Community-based participatory research


Current Research Projects:
  • Colorado Health Foundation: Culture of wellness in preschools planning grant (12/10-6/10, Principal Investigator): The purpose of this grant is to plan a collaborative intervention aimed at promoting a "culture of wellness" in Head Start preschools in the Denver Metropolitan area.  This grant will include planning for the implementation of a range of programs and activities to increase daily healthy eating and physical activity for preschool students, staff and parents in 26 Head Start centers.  More specifically, the proposed project will offer the following types of services:
      • nutrition education classes;
      • structured physical activity opportunities;
      • school environment or policy change opportunities;
      • health promotion training for up to 3-5 parents and staff at each Head Start site;
      • 2 home vistis and a cardiovascular profile for any interested Head Start family member; and
      • motivational interviewing training for Head Start staff.
  • NIH: A community-based participatory research approach to collecting health and built environment data (10/09-9/11, Project Coordiantor): The purpose of this administrative supplement to the Community Engagement Core of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is to conduct two community health surveys: one in the San Luis Valley and one in the Denver faith-based African American community. We expect to achieve a more accurate picture of the health status of residents because community partners will play a key role in data collection, multiple methods will be used to collect data, sample sizes will be larger than BRFSS leading to more accurate point estimates, and a special emphasis will be placed on reaching residents who typically do not participate in land line surveys. The end result will be two community health profiles that can be used for setting research and intervention priorities as well as gauging health status change over time. In addition, a methodology for conducting community health surveillance using a CBPR approach will be produced and disseminated to interested stakeholders.
  • Research Institute Bridge Grant: One Step Second-Hand Smoke Initiative (12/07-09/10, Evaluator): The aim of the ONE Step Second Hand Smoke (SHS) Initiative is to evaluate the efficacy of the Ask, Advise and Refer model to promote provider care setting, thereby reducing exposure risks to the child and promoting parent/caregiver cessation.
  • Colorado Health Foundation: School Nutrition Plus: Partners and Parents (7/10-6/12, Co-investigator): The purpose of this project is to: 1) expand Integrated Nutrition Education Program into 160 classrooms in Aurora and Tri-River; and 2) pilot and enhanced INEP model called School Nutrition Plus, in Denver Public Schools. This will include a parent education and involvement piece; greater classroom/cafeteria connections along with marketing of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables; and a youth led radio project (KGNU) in the classrooms, school and community.


  • University of Denver, BA, Biology & Psychology, 2000
  • University of Denver, MA, Quantitative Research Methods, 2004
  • University of Denver, PhD, Quantitative Research Methods, 2007

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