Barbara H. Fiese, PhD, is a clinical and developmental psychologist whose research focuses on family factors that promote health and wellbeing in children. She holds the Pampered Chef, Ltd., Endowed Chair in Family Resiliency and is Professor and Director of the Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with affiliated appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology. She is considered one of the national experts in the role that shared family mealtimes may play in promoting health.
She is a principal investigator or co-investigator on multiple federally funded projects aimed at examining environmental and biological factors contributing to early nutritional health including the STRONG Kids 2 Project which takes a cell-to-community approach to dietary habits from birth and the I-TOPP program, an innovative transdisciplinary MPH/PhD training program in obesity prevention. She is also the PI on several projects aimed at increasing the efficiencies of summer and after school feeding programs for food insecure children and youth.
She is past-president of the society of Family Psychology, editor of the Journal of Family Psychology, and inaugural editor of Advances in Child and Family Policy and Practice. Dr. Fiese's complete bio can be found here.
Brenda Davis Koester is Assistant Director of the Family Resiliency Center. Her research and policy work centers around food insecurity; children’s feeding programs; effective community collaborations; and translating research into policy and practice and she serves as Co-PD and Co-I on several externally funded projects. She has experience supporting and coordinating transdisciplinary teams and co-instructs the HDFS 494 Undergraduate Transdisciplinary Research Course.
As the Assistant Director she supervises staff and directs the professional development, communication, and policy work of the Center. She also provides pre- and post- grant support for FRC projects and affiliates. She holds a BS in Communication and an MS in Labor and Employment Relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
As the STRONG Kids 2 Project Coordinator since 2011, Jen Themanson helms one of the FRC's flagship research projects. In her role, she develops data collections, oversees statistical analysis, and develops research skills in undergraduate students. Jen has a BS in History Secondary Education and MEd in College Student Personnel Administration from Illinois State University.
Elinor Fujimoto is a Project Coordinator for the Family Resiliency Center. She is responsible for coordinating activities for the Children’s Environmental Health Center’s Communication Outreach and Translation Core and several other projects. She holds a BS in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, BFA in Dance, and MPH from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she developed a passion for health equity and research translation. In prior roles, she has coordinated health science research in academic and clinical settings, working with diverse populations such as caregivers of veterans, perinatal women, and epilepsy patients. Fujimoto has also served on the Board of Directors for Champaign County Health Care Consumers since 2015.
Carolyn Sutter, PhD is a research assistant professor with the Family Resiliency Center. Her research and outreach efforts focus on how social relationships with parents and peers relate to children’s developing eating behaviors and risk of childhood obesity. She received a BA in human development from the University of California, San Diego, and her MS in child development and PhD in human development both from the University of California, Davis. She has experience conducting research, supporting intervention programming, and designing educational materials for parents and school settings, from preschool through high school.
Kelly Uchima is a Project Coordinator for the Family Resiliency Center and has been an integral part of the Strong Kids 2 Research Project since 2013. As an undergraduate, she learned to conduct field work and data collection that contributed to studying childhood health and discovered a deep interest in research. Upon graduating with a BS in Agricultural Consumer Economics and a minor in Communication from the University Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Kelly became a Strong Kids family specialist and gained experience conducting research, coding and collaborative academic publications.
Since 2005, Linda Tortorelli has been the coordinator for The Autism Program at Illinois on the Urbana-Champaign campus, which is a collaborative initiative between the Departments of Special Education and Human Development and Family Studies. Linda is a dynamic force behind community education about autism as well as providing direct service to families. Linda was recently the recipient of the College of ACES Professional Staff Award for Innovation and Creativity, and she is a driving force behind TAP's vibrant presence in the local community.
Serving as Resource Room Coordinator for The Autism Program at Illinois, Anne Hall oversees the day-to-day operations of the TAP's resource room, which is dedicated to helping individuals with autism in the local community. Intregal to the TAP team, Anne also supervises the University of Illinois student interns who assist in TAP's programing for local families.
Diane Davis assists with the day-to-day operations of the FRC and is an integral member of the team. Originally from Indianapolis, Diane has been with the University of Illinois for over 30 years in a variety of roles and offices, including more than 14 years of service working for Residential Life in Student Housing where she was able to assist various student groups like I Guides or Women of Color.