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DR. MELISSA VILARO

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR 


G-087 McCarty B

352 273-3525| mgraveley@ufl.edu

DR. MELISSA VILARO

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR 


G-087 McCarty B

352 273-3525| mgraveley@ufl.edu

BIOGRAPHY


Dr. Melissa Vilaro is an Assistant Professor of Health and Wellness in the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences at the University of Florida (UF). She previously completed postdoctoral training with a focus on cancer health communication and strategic message design at UF’s STEM Translational Communication Center (STCC) where she received a National Cancer Institute, Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. She also worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at UF’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department where she coordinated a USDA-funded health promotion and social marketing research study. She earned her PhD in Public Health and MPH from UF and BA from Tufts University. 

Research Interests: As a social behavioral scientist, Dr. Vilaro’s research incorporates community-based approaches to develop strategic messaging and behavior change strategies for chronic disease prevention. Her research largely addresses the social and environmental determinants of diet among vulnerable groups, including children, low-income, and rural populations to mitigate diet-related health disparities. Dr. Vilaro’s current research addresses cancer screening disparities among rural adults through the development and pilot-testing of a culturally tailored web-based intervention that engages rural adults with their personalized nutrition risk information and tailored colorectal cancer screening messages. 

Additionally, Dr. Vilaro conducts research related to food insecurity, food/beverage advertising among youth, and survey development using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. 

Hobbies: cooking, yoga, running, gardening, dancing, exploring Florida’s freshwater springs.

Key words: behavior change, community-engaged research, web-based interventions, cancer prevention, nutrition, health disparities

BIOGRAPHY


Dr. Melissa Vilaro is an Assistant Professor of Health and Wellness in the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences at the University of Florida (UF). She previously completed postdoctoral training with a focus on cancer health communication and strategic message design at UF’s STEM Translational Communication Center (STCC) where she received a National Cancer Institute, Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. She also worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at UF’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department where she coordinated a USDA-funded health promotion and social marketing research study. She earned her PhD in Public Health and MPH from UF and BA from Tufts University. 

Research Interests: As a social behavioral scientist, Dr. Vilaro’s research incorporates community-based approaches to develop strategic messaging and behavior change strategies for chronic disease prevention. Her research largely addresses the social and environmental determinants of diet among vulnerable groups, including children, low-income, and rural populations to mitigate diet-related health disparities. Dr. Vilaro’s current research addresses cancer screening disparities among rural adults through the development and pilot-testing of a culturally tailored web-based intervention that engages rural adults with their personalized nutrition risk information and tailored colorectal cancer screening messages. 

Additionally, Dr. Vilaro conducts research related to food insecurity, food/beverage advertising among youth, and survey development using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. 

Hobbies: cooking, yoga, running, gardening, dancing, exploring Florida’s freshwater springs.

Key words: behavior change, community-engaged research, web-based interventions, cancer prevention, nutrition, health disparities