Tanya Horacek

Ph.D., RD
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Horacek’s research interests included evaluating theory-based nutrition education/counseling interventions; explaining the mediating factors influencing dietary intake and intervention effectiveness (including personality, stages of change, intuitive eating, green eating, environmental factors); conducting collaborative ecological program development; and evaluating dietetics education effectiveness. She designed and evaluated the effectiveness of a lifestyle-oriented nutrition counseling model. In 2005, she developed a peer nutrition education and counseling program, ORANGE WRAP: OutReach And Nutrition Group Education by Wellness Responsibility Advocating Peers, and lead their efforts through 2014.

Dr. Horacek was a member of a 10-state regional research group. Over the past 25 years, she worked with them on number of USDA-funded randomized treatment-control interventions to improve low-income and high-risk young adults’ health. Specifically, the interventions: 1) improved fruit and vegetable intake using a stage-based intervention, 2) use a WEB-based non-diet approach to prevent obesity, 3) used participatory community research to design Healthy Campus Environment Audits and Interventions, and 4) implemented a social marketing/media intervention to improve wellness. These were innovative approaches to local grass-roots research using our collaborative partnerships for effective and efficient data collection and intervention implementation. Between 2008-2020, Horacek and her team have lead the development, testing and validation of the Healthy Campus Environmental Audits. These audits can be used on college campuses, worksites, schools, hospitals to evaluate the overall healthfulness for obesity prevention. The audits include: walkability/bikeability, recreation facilities and services, stores, dining and restaurants, vending, and initiatives and policies.

Education

Doctor of Philosophy, Nutritional Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Master of Arts, Communication Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Bachelor of Science, Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University

Specialization

Lifestyles nutrition counseling; Mediterranean Food and Culture, participatory program planning; healthy campus environment audits (food, physical activity and policies)