Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Simone Annette French, PhD, FTOS, Professor for the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health and Director of the Obesity Prevention Center at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health.
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am a Professor for the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. I am also the Director of the Obesity Prevention Center for the university.
Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory?
A: My research program focuses on the design, development, implementation and evaluation of community-based interventions to prevent obesity in children and adults. These involve changing the food environment, such as changes in food prices, availability or promotion; and changing individual eating and physical activity behaviors, using behavioral strategies.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: Persistence, creativity, a passion for the research area, and a lack of fear of failure.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Find an area of inquiry that you feel passionate about that intrigues you. If your work is a fun puzzle to solve, then work will be play and you will not be easily discouraged when you fall down. Having fun is important to the creative process.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: The interface of policy, environment and individual behavioral choices. I am also excited about working with lower-income diverse populations to develop interventions that are effective.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: Is this a trick question?