Texas Tech University

Debra Reed, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.

Nutritional Sciences

Nutrition Education; Healthy Home/Community Food Environment; Educational Website Development


Research Interest

Debra Reed

Personal Information

Debra B. Reed, PhD, RDN, LD has been Professor and Helen DeVitt Jones Chairperson in Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech since 2004.  She has previously been on the faculty at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Texas A & M University System, Louisiana State University, and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  Her area of expertise is community nutrition, and her current research focus is on the development and testing of web-based educational interventions for preschool parents.  She and her multidisciplinary team of faculty and graduate students have developed the  website, Jump2Health, which includes information and videos on 7 Healthy Habits that are related to preventing childhood obesity, including:  More Whole Grains, More Fruits and Vegetables, Less Sweet Drinks, Less Screen Time, More Physical Activity, More Family Meals, and More Sleep.

Pivotal experiences in her 35+ year career have included being a clinical dietitian at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston which stimulated her interest in prevention of disease, not just treating it.  Also, as a nutrition co-investigator in Texas and Louisiana for the NHLBI- funded Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH), she was able to contribute to the building blocks that later became the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Program that has been disseminated to over 7,000 schools.  As the Texas Director for the USDA Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP), she oversaw 100 staff state-wide in implementing nutrition education programming to ~ 20,000 adults and ~40,000 youth per year.  Throughout her career, Dr. Reed has been dedicated to using creative, theory-based nutrition interventions and best practices to empower people of all races, ages, cultures, and income levels to improve their food choices for the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases.

Dr. Reed's work has been recognized nationally by invited postings on the following:

At Texas Tech, she has served as the Director of the undergraduate Didactic Program in Dietetics (2004-2007) and has been the Graduate Adviser for Nutritional Sciences since 2007.  During her tenure as Graduate Adviser, the NS Graduate Program has increased from ~ 15 students to 60 students, of whom 20+ are PhD students.  She has taught the following undergraduate courses:  Introduction to Dietetics, Introduction to Nutrition, Community Nutrition, and Fieldwork in Food & Nutrition; and the following graduate courses: Problems in Food and Nutrition (various topics including Worksite Nutrition and Maternal and Child Nutrition) and Advanced Community Nutrition.

Dr. Reed's academic background includes: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health: Ph.D. in Community Health Science; Texas Tech University: M.S. in Food and Nutrition; University of Arizona: Dietetic Internship; and Texas Tech University: B.S. in Food and Nutrition and Home Economics Education. 

She has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including:  the TTU College of Human Sciences' Spencer A. Wells Award for Creativity in Teaching (2013-2014); “Best Paper Award” (2010). Society for Nutrition Education for Cullen KW, A Lara-Smalling, D Thompson, KB Watson, DB Reed, and K Konzelmann (2009). Creating healthy home food environments: results of a study with participants in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 41(6):380-388; College of Human Sciences' Kathryn Burleson Faculty Service Award (2009-2010); College of Human Sciences' Academic Achievement Award for achievements in teaching, research, and service (2008-2009); Selected as a Service Learning Fellow by TTU Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (2008-2009); Invited to be a faculty member in the TTU International Center for Food Industry Excellence (ICFIE)(2008 – present); F.I.T. Tech was awarded a Gold Recognition and received $1,000 from the State Worksite Wellness Promising Practices Awards from the Texas Department of State Health Services (2009); Texas Dietetic Association Foundation (elected state positions of Director-Elect, Director, Past-Director 2006-2009); guided Foundation in raising ~$22,000 for student scholarships in 2007; F.I.T Tech (Fitness, Information and Technology) was named one of ten recipients statewide of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Best Practices Recognition Program award by the Texas Department of State Health Services' Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program (2006); F.I.T. Tech recognized at TTU Board of Regents Meeting, May 2006; Invited Co-Chairperson, Steering Committee, Texas Fruit and Vegetable Network sponsored by the Department of State Health Services (2005 to 2006); Invited Partner, for the development of the Strategic Plan for the Prevention of Obesity in Texas, sponsored by the Department of State Health Services (2005 to 2006);  Texas Dietetic Association's Distinguished Scientist Award (2005); Vice-Chancellor's Award for Diversity Efforts, Texas A&M University System, 2001; School of Human Ecology's Faculty Teaching Award, Louisiana State University, 1997.

Obesity Research Cluster