Project Team

The project team was assembled to reflect the breadth of scholarship and experience required of our comprehensive, integrated approach, with particular expertise in rural community-engaged research and Extension methods in the promotion of nutrition and physicalactivity behaviors, gardening and youth development among school-aged children.


Principle Researchers

Kathy Gunter

Kathy GunterExamining the effects of a physically active lifestyle on the prevention and management of chronic disease. Efforts are primarily directed toward promotion of skeletal health across the lifespan and prevention of childhood obesity. Settings include schools, family child care homes, and communities.

Examples of current work include:

1. Examination of early childhood exercise training potential to positively enhance skeletal health

2. Development, dissemination, and evaluation of community-based fall and fracture prevention programs

3. Use of community-based participatory research strategies to support healthy eating and physical activity in rural areas

4. Promotion of physical activity and healthful eating in child care settings to improve children’s health.


Deborah John

Deborah JohnMy research emphasizes behavioral health science, particularly obesity-related health behaviors/health promotion among diverse populations as related to the local environment and culture. My academic and scholarly efforts have focused on healthful eating and activity, active aging, and active living communities. I employ community-based participatory research methods and tools to examine how attributes of people interact with attributes of place across social ecological level to differently influence health behaviors and outcomes.



Perry Hystad

Perry HystadI am an environmental epidemiologist focused on understanding the health impacts related to place (i.e. where we live, work and play). My research uses Geographic Information Science (GIS) to estimate different characteristics of place that are important to health. A large portion of my research examines the chronic health effects associated with exposure to air pollution. Given the spatially correlated nature of environmental and social health determinants, I also integrate my research within a multidisciplinary framework to capture the complexity of how place influences health. For example, my research incorporates such factors as neighborhood socioeconomic conditions (e.g. deprivation and community belonging), built environment characteristics (e.g. neighborhood walkability and active transportation), and other environmental exposures (e.g. noise and heat).   


Gail Langellotto

Gail LangellottoWorking with the OSU Extension Master Gardeners, state and local agencies, as well as non-profits and other non-governmental organizations, I am helping to develop a better research-based understanding of how to design and sustainably manage gardens and parks to maximize ecosystem services.  My Extension and Outreach efforts are focused on communicating these and other research-backed management practices to home gardeners, commercial landscapers, and others.

Melinda Manore

Melinda ManoreMy research focuses on answering these questions:

1. How does physical activity alter energy and nutrient metabolism and needs? 

2. What dietary and activity approaches help individuals/groups maintain or achieve a healthy body weight for reduction of chronic risk factors (e.g. metabolic syndrome, diabetes) and obesity?

3. What dietary recommendations help sustain physical activity and improve exercise performance? 

I have extensively examined the nutrition and exercise issues of girls and women across the lifespan to determine how we can impact health behaviors to reduce chronic disease risk factors, improve bone health, and prevent disordered eating behaviors and menstrual dysfunction. Current work examines the integration of nutrition and exercise into energy balance messages and community based practices, programs and environmental changes for the prevention of obesity.


Project Coordinator

Amanda Armington

Amanda joined the GROW HKC team as Project Coordinator in April 2013. After earning her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, Amanda moved to southern California in 2004, to work for The Nature Conservancy. Part of her responsibilities included helping to coordinate an outdoor activity program for community members. She then took a job with the YMCA Community Services Branch in Tustin, California, where she first developed an interest in how environments affect our health. At the YMCA, she worked on several projects aimed at changing the school and community environments to help kids and families be active and eat healthier. Her career evolved and she eventually moved back to the sprawling metropolis of Atlanta, to continue her work with The Nature Conservancy.  

She noticed that her commuter lifestyle made it more difficult to exercise and have the time to cook healthy foods, prompting her return to school to pursue her interest in healthy living. She graduated with her Master of Public Health degree from Oregon State University in 2012, with a focus on health promotion and health education. She loves living in the very walkable and friendly town of Corvallis with her husband, son, and daughter. She spends her free time gardening, sewing, hiking and exploring Oregon.


Research Assistants

John Hicks

Jenny Jackson

Tammy Winfield

John Hicks Jenny Jackson Tammy Winfield


*Sorted alphabetically