Abriendo Caminos Research Team and Funding Information


Research Team

  • Margarita Teran-Garcia, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition (P.I. for Promatora Project, Abriendo Caminos Project)


                                       Dr. Margarita Teran-Garcia

  • Margarita Teran-Garcia is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at the Urbana-Champaign campus and Extension Specialist in Hispanic Health Programs. Her research and outreach focus on prevention of obesity and obesity related diseases by implementing tailored nutrition and education interventions in disadvantaged populations.


  • Barbara Fiese, PhD, Professor and Family Resiliency Center Director


                                            Dr. Barbara Fiese

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.


  • Norma E. Gonzalez, MFA, DSc, Visiting Project Coordinator


Norma E. Gonzalez is a Visiting Project Coordinator at University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign. She has a Doctor of Science in Information Systems and Communication degree, and a MFA in Graphic Design with specialization in Multimedia and Motion Graphics. She worked at Citibank as a project leader in both technology and control risk areas. She has taught Graphic/web design/Information systems.


  • Anna S. Keck, PhD, Visiting Project Coordinator


She has a MS in Biochemistry from the Uppsala University, Sweden, a MS in Chemistry from the Illinois State University and a PhD in Nutritional Toxicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois).   She worked as the Executive Director of the Research Institute at Carle for eight years prior to returning to Illinois in 2015 to coordinate research programs such as I-TOPP and Abriendo Caminos and facilitate training grant submissions through the Division of Nutritional Sciences.



  • Elizabeth Villegas, MSc


                                         Elizabeth Villegas

Elizabeth is a doctoral student in the department of Human Development and Family studies.  Her pursuits are to promote health, wellness, and family support in under-served populations.

  • Bridget Hannon,MSc


                                             Bridget Hannon

Bridget is a doctoral graduate student in the department of Nutritional Sciences. Her interests lie in promoting healthy nutrition habits and emphasizing the importance of physical activity for a well-balanced lifestyle.  She is looking forward to sharing her insight as well as learning from the families involved in Abriendo Caminos.


This research is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture as part of the AFRI Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge (2015-68001-23248) to the University of Illinois.