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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

South Florida Faculty Launches AAHB Journal

University of South Florida College of Public Health’s Dr. Rita Debate has been selected as the founding editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Health Behavior’s (AAHB) journal, Health Behavior Research.

“We are delighted to welcome her into this new role,” said Dean Jay Maddock,  Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Public Health. “Progress with the journal is moving swiftly, with an anticipated launch in the fall of 2016.”

Rita Debate, PhD, MPH, FAED

[Photo: Dr. Rita Debate]

Dr. Debate serves as assistant vice president of USF Wellness and is a professor in the COPH Department of Health Policy and Management. Her research interests include adolescent health, positive youth development, women’s health, and secondary prevention of eating disorders. Her portfolio includes numerous publications and she lends her time and knowledge to organizations that complement her research foci.

Dr. Debate is the principal investigator on a number of the National Institutes of Health’s funded research studies pertaining to secondary prevention of eating disorders. More specifically, her research focuses on increasing the capacity of oral health care providers to identify oral signs of disordered eating behaviors, communicating findings to the patient, providing patient specific care and referring the patient for treatment.

She has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences including the annual meetings of the American Public Health Association, Academy for Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders Research Society and Association for Dental Education, and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.

As council director and national evaluator for Girls on the Run, an organization that promotes healthy lifestyles, builds confidence, and teaches self-esteem through running and an experience-based curriculum, she is actively sought out by national and international organizations to present her research on Girls on the Run and speak on issues pertaining to body image, eating disorders, and physical activity among adolescent females.

In 2013, Dr. Debate was named an AAHB Fellow and served as president from 2013 through 2014.