Cathryn Chavez works at the main office of the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences (ENS) as an Administrative Support Coordinator I. She is responsible for assisting the faculty and staff with the preparation of tests, orders for equipment and supplies, organizing labs, classrooms, and offices, exam proctoring, and many other duties. She also assists with the DPD Program and Advising. Cathryn spearheads the JEDI Student Advisory Council with Dr. Matthew Majhar and Julia Zuniga. The JEDI Program is a student-led initiative. This program aims to promote student success for undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds enrolled in the school of ENS. Cathy wears many hats and always completes her tasks enthusiastically and efficiently. Her support helps make ENS run smoothly. She is the “go-to” person when someone in ENS needs assistance. She helps out students when they need help and loves to go the extra mile to make sure they get the help they need. Faculty depend on her quick thinking, positive energy, and “get-it-done” attitude. She is a fantastic team member. Cathy enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Joe, and her son, R.J. She loves to try new foods and travel to many new places. She also enjoys running and working out.
Dr. Jeni Green is an Assistant Professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences (ENS). She received a PhD in Exercise and Nutritional Sciences from Arizona State University in 2019. Dr. Green’s research focuses on improving the health and well-being of historically marginalized communities and reducing health disparities by implementing mind-body (e.g., yoga, mindfulness, meditation) and physical activity interventions. Her research also includes psycho-social outcomes, digital health approaches, behavior change, maternal health, and community-based and mixed-methods approaches. Dr. Green believes that the benefits of mind-body and physical activity interventions should be accessible to all, regardless of background or identity. Not only is Dr. Green a dedicated researcher but also a passionate educator. Her teaching philosophy reflects an unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive classroom environment by ensuring students of all backgrounds feel represented in the course material and are encouraged to engage in critical dialogues about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Green currently serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the School of ENS, where she works alongside an incredible team focused on shaping departmental policies, practices, and activities that promote a more equitable and welcoming environment for all.
Dr. Kenneth Leung is a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program lecturer in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. He received his BA in Molecular Cell Biology with a Neurology emphasis 2002 from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Leung developed a passion for teaching the underserved and underrepresented communities while receiving his minor in Education at UC Berkeley and through his teaching experiences in Oakland and San Francisco. In 2011, Dr. Leung received his DPT from the University of Southern California 2011 and completed his Orthopedic Residency training. Dr. Leung joined the SDSU Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2021 and coordinates the musculoskeletal courses while teaching Assessment, Modalities, and Differential Diagnosis. In addition to serving on the DEI committee for ENS, Dr. Leung is also on the admissions and curriculum committee in the DPT program, where he can continue to help with improving the representation of underrepresented healthcare workers as well as hone our curriculum to develop the skills and perspectives that healthcare professionals need to serve their communities best.
Dr. Changqi Liu is an Associate Professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. He received his BS in Food Quality and Safety from Sichuan Agricultural University, an MS in Animal and Food Sciences from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition and Food Sciences from Florida State University. His primary research areas include food allergy and sustainable and functional foods. Dr. Liu has received three educational grants as the P.I. or Co-PI from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program and one from the USDA’s From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals Program, all aiming at promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fields of food and agriculture.
Dr. McClain is an assistant professor of nutrition and Building on Inclusive Excellence faculty. She completed her BS in Sports Medicine in 2002 and her MS in Health Promotion in 2005 before working as a Research Associate for five years at the University of South Carolina. She then earned her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences, specializing in Community Nutrition, in 2016 from Cornell University. She completed an NIH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in nutritional epidemiology 2018 at Harvard University Chan School of Public Health. Dr. McClain’s population science and community-engaged research program aims to understand how the stress of marginalization (e.g., food insecurity, poverty) influences food choice, dietary intake, and cardiometabolic health while also creating interventions and programs that leverage and strengthen existing capacities (e.g., assets) to promote food security, healthy diets, and health equity. Her personal experiences growing up in a working-class family in a low-income neighborhood in Memphis, TN, a city with pervasive historical marginalization and structural racism, are central to her passion for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and ultimately upward mobility of historically marginalized groups, in her teaching, mentoring, research, and service at SDSU. Dr. McClain has served on the ENS DEI committee since its establishment in 2019, contributing to various accomplishments, including ENS DEI goals, objectives, intervention strategies, and the ENS-hosted Fall 2023 CHHS DEI speaker series.
Surabhi BhutaniSurabhi Bhutani
Dr. Surabhi Bhutani is an Assistant Professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in foods and nutrition from Delhi University and her Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her NIH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowships at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, in energy metabolism and cognitive neuroscience, respectively. Dr. Bhutani’s research at SDSU revolves around sensory nutrition, explicitly focusing on understanding how human sensory signals, such as smell and taste, influence diet behaviors and contribute to weight gain and obesity. Her research also aims to develop novel strategies to target and shape behaviors that alter smell and taste to promote healthy diet intake.
Beyond her research, Dr. Bhutani is deeply committed to fostering diversity and inclusivity at SDSU. Her commitment is firmly rooted in her personal background, teaching experience, and dedication to improving a diverse population’s health. She is passionate about providing a meaningful research experience to students from diverse backgrounds, including first-generation college attendees. Furthermore, she strongly advocates for creating an inclusive learning environment crucial for students to excel academically. Dr. Bhutani’s commitment extends to her current role on the advisory council for the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Mentor Program. This student-led initiative aims to foster success for ENS’s diverse undergraduate and graduate students. Alongside her role on the DEI committee for ENS, Dr. Bhutani also serves on the ENS Scholarship Committee. She has empowered diverse students through this opportunity, helping them recognize their potential and nurturing their career growth, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in exercise and nutrition.