optforhealth@vcu.edu 804-827-2250

Meet the Team

Jessica LaRose, PhD
Jessica LaRose, PhD
Director

Dr. LaRose is the Director of the OPT for health research center and a faculty member in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at VCU. She is a clinical psychologist whose primary research interests lie in obesity prevention and treatment and developing behavioral interventions to mitigate future disease risk. Dr. LaRose is particularly interested in intervening with high-risk and/or underserved populations, and in identifying novel ways to translate evidence-based interventions into community and healthcare settings.

Megan Blumenthal, MS, CRC
Megan Blumenthal, MS, CRC
Lab Manager

Megan is the Lab Manager for the OPT for Health Research Center and coordinates all aspects of our ongoing randomized controlled trials, including participants’ screening and assessment visits. She has a background in rehabilitation counseling, and considerable experience managing large-scale clinical trials.

Autumn Lanoye, MS
Autumn Lanoye, MS
Intervention Coordinator

Autumn has a background in clinical psychology and behavioral medicine, including specialized training to help individuals to make healthy lifestyle changes. She coordinates intervention implementation and serves as a lifestyle coach for our ongoing REACH Trial.

Suzi Rice Kinahan, MSW, Certified Health Coach
Suzi Rice Kinahan, MSW, Certified Health Coach
Interventionist

Suzi has a background in social work and advanced training in nutrition, and is a certified health coach. She works as a lifestyle coach for our ongoing REACH Trial as well as our ongoing adolescent weight loss trial in collaboration with the Healthy Lifestyles Center at Children’s Hospital of Richmond.

Darnell Barrington, MPH, CHES
Darnell Barrington, MPH, CHES
Research Associate

Darnell has a background in public health and health education, as well as experience coordinating clinical trials. He works as a Research Associate in the lab and coordinates many aspects of recruitment and outreach, as well as conducting participant assessment visits for the REACH Trial.

Brandi Galloway, MSN, MDiv
Brandi Galloway, MSN, MDiv
Graduate Student

Brandi is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy, working toward her PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She also works full time as a women’s health nurse practitioner. Her research interests include health disparities among minority women, and the development of faith and community based interventions. 

Kristal Brown, MSPH
Kristal Brown, MSPH
Graduate Student

Kristal is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy, working toward her PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests include the development of weight gain prevention programs for college students. 

Sara Sigur, RN
Sara Sigur, RN
Graduate Student

Sara is currently earning her Masters of Public Health and is one of Dr. LaRose’s advisees.