SHP Faculty

Faculty Spotlight

December 2022 - Elizabeth Lyons
Elizabeth Lyons

Elizabeth Lyons, PhD, MPH
Grace Bucksch Gnitzinger Distinguished Professor in Aging, Interim Chair and Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition, Metabolism and Rehabilitation Sciences

Web Biography

Dr. Elizabeth Lyons is the Interim Chair and an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition in the Department of Nutrition, Metabolism & Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Professions at UTMB. She is also the Grace Bucksch Gnitzinger Distinguished Professor in Aging and a fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging. She is a behavioral researcher with an interest in creating interventions to improve cancer prevention and control by changing weight-related behaviors.

Dr. Lyons’ research focuses on physical activity and older women. She is particularly interested in investigating methods of developing behavior change interventions that increase playfulness and motivation. Many of her interventions use play and game mechanics to reframe physical activity from a boring chore into an interesting, enjoyable experience. She uses a “celebratory technology” approach, which focuses on the motivating aspects that make behavior worth doing rather than focusing on deficiencies in any individual or behavior. With her research team, she is currently conducting a large randomized controlled clinical trial testing the impact of a walking game on older women’s physical activity. The game involves weekly challenges posted to a private Facebook group that involve novel, playful activities. For example, challenges include scavenger hunt bingo, looking for decorations related to holidays, and finding things on walks that create feelings of nostalgia. While out on walks, players try to complete the week’s challenge, take a photo, and upload that photo to the Facebook group. In addition to motivating aspects of completing the challenge, we hope that viewing other players’ photos will also reinforce playful and motivating feelings. Our planned next steps include expanding the walking challenge game to include ways of personalizing the challenges and investigating new types of game mechanics to target with future challenges.

Past Faculty Spotlight

  • September 2022 - Gregory Brusola
  • March 2022 - Raj Rajendran
  • December 2021 - Amber Armstead
  • September 2021 - Steve Fisher
  • May 2021 - Chih-Ying "Cynthia" Li
  • March 2021 - Monique R. Pappadis, MEd, PhD
  • December 2020 - Riqiea F. Kitchens, PhD, OTR, BCPR, CSRS
  • August 2019 - Rachel Deer, PhD
  • March 2019 - Amol Karmarkar, PhD
  • December 2019 - Ickpyo Hong, PhD, OTR
  • October 2018 - Lynne Hughes, PT, PhD, OCS, MTC
  • August 2018 - Christopher Fry, PhD
  • June 2018 - Brian Downer, PhD

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