Patricia Markham Risica
Patricia Markham Risica
Associate Professor

Department of Epidemiology
Institute for Community Health Promotion
Brown University


  • 1997 - DrPH  Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD Concentration: International Health (Nutrition)
  • 1993- MPH Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD Concentration: Epidemiology
  • 1987 - BS The Ohio State University, School of Allied Medical Professions, Columbus, OH Concentration: Medical Dietetics



Dr. Risica has over 20 years of experience in public health, currently serving at the Brown University Center for Health Equity Research (CHER). Dr. Risica has previously been involved in many research projects spanning several topics in public health, but focusing mostly on intervention development and evaluation. She is MPI (with Dr. Gans) of the, “Healthy Start/Comienzos Sanos,” project (R01 HL123016 Improving nutrition and physical activity environments in home-based child care), which has developed much of this team’s work in the family child care setting. She has also contributed substantially to several community-based projects that focus on a variety of populations and topics (R01CA134903, R01CA133396, R18DK079880, R18DK68525, R01CA106592, R01HL77608, R01HL69379, R01CA86066, RO1CA81828, R01CA74484, R18HL57457). For the Baby’s Breath project (R01 HL070947), over 800 pregnant women were enrolled before 16 weeks of pregnancy for an RCT focused on environmental tobacco smoke avoidance. From that study, she has also created several papers prospectively evaluating infant feeding patterns among the low-income, multicultural study sample. She has served as the evaluator and epidemiologist for the RI Department of Health’s CDC funded Initiative for a Healthy Weight (IHW), and is currently serving as an evaluator and epidemiologist for the WISEWOMAN project. Her research takes a lifespan approach and includes research studies from infancy to adults.


Research Interest

  • Obesity, body fat distribution, nutrition, breastfeeding, early infant feeding, indigenous circumpolar populations, African American women
  • Early detection of melanoma, thorough skin examination, thorough skin self-examination
  • Smoking cessation during pregnancy, environmental tobacco smoke avoidance
  • Behavioral intervention development, randomized controlled trials of behavioral interventions


Scientific Activities

Academic Appointments

  • 1998 – 2017 Assistant Professor (Research) of Epidemiology, Brown School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 2016 – 2017 Assistant Professor of Behavior and Social Sciences, Research Scholar, Brown School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 2017 – present Associate Professor of Behavior and Social Sciences, and of Epidemiology, Brown School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island

Hospital Appointments

  • 1997 – 2002 Research Analyst, Nutritional Epidemiologist, and Director of the Survey Center and Data Management, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket, Rhode Island



  1. Ebbesson SOE, Schraer CD, Risica PM, Adler AI, Ebbesson L, Mayer AM, Shubnikof EV, Yeh J, Go OT Robbins DC. Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance in three Alaskan Eskimo populations. The Alaska-Siberia Project. Diabetes Care 1998; Apr;21(4):563-9.
  2. Weinstock MA, Martin RA, Risica PM, Berwick M, Lasater T, Rakowski W, Goldstein MG, Dube CE. Thorough skin examination for the early detection of melanoma. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 1999; 17(3):169-175.
  3. Schraer CD, Risica PM, Ebbesson SOE, Go OT. Low fasting insulin levels in Eskimos compared to American Indians: are Eskimos less insulin resistant? International Journal of Circumpolar Health 1999; 58(4): 272-280.
  4. Risica PM, Schraer C, Ebbesson SOE, Nobmann ED, Caballero B. Body fat distribution in Alaskan Eskimos of the Bering straits region. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2000; Feb 24(2):171-9.
  5. Risica PM, Schraer C, Ebbesson SOE, Nobmann ED, Caballero B. Obesity in Alaskan Eskimos of the Bering straits region: International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2000; 24: 939-944.
  6. Risica PM, Eaton CB, Levy S, Monroe A. Self-esteem, Race, Income, Education and Utilization of Preventive Health Services in Women: The Commonwealth Fund Women's Health Survey Clinical Journal of Women's Health 2001;1(3):139-148.
  7. Gans K, Burkholder G, Upegui D, Risica PM, Lasater T, Fortunet R. Comparison of baseline fat-related eating behaviors of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Colombian, and Guatemalan participants who joined a cholesterol education project. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2002; 34:202-210.
  8. Weinstock MA, Nguyen FQ, Risica PM. Patient and referring provider satisfaction with teledermatology. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2002; Jul;47(1):68-72.
  9. Gans K, Burkholder G, Risica PM, Lasater T. Baseline fat-related dietary behaviors of white, Hispanic, and black participants in a cholesterol screening and education project in New England. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2003; 103: 699-706.
  10. Bjerregaard P, Dewailly E, Young TK, Blanchet C, Hegele RA, Ebbesson SE, Risica PM, Mulvad G. Blood pressure among the Inuit (Eskimo) populations in the Arctic. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 2003; 31(2): 92-9.
  11. Taylor JS, Risica PM, Cabral HJ. Why primiparous mothers do not breastfeed in the United States: a national survey: Acta Paediatrica 2003; Nov, 92(11): 1308-13.
  12. Gans KM, Kumanyika SK, Lovell HJ, Risica PM, Goldman R, Odoms A, Lasater TM: SisterTalk: A Cable-TV delivered weight control program for Black women. Preventive Medicine 2003; Dec, 37(6 Pt 1): 654-67.
  13. Goldman R, Risica PM. Perceptions of Breast and Cervical Cancer Risk and Screening among Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in Rhode Island. Ethnicity and Disease 2004; 14(1): 32-42.
  14. Weinstock MA, Risica PM, Martin RA, Rakowski W, Smith KJ, Berwick M, Goldstein MG, Upegui D, Lasater TM. Reliability of assessment and circumstances of performance of thorough skin self-examination for the early detection of melanoma in the check-it-out project. Preventive Medicine 2004; Jun, 38(6): 761-5.
  15. Eide MJ, Weinstock MA, Dufresne RG, Neelagaru S, Risica PM, Burkholder G, Upegui DI, Phillips KA, Armstrong BA, Robinson-Bostom L. Relationship of treatment delay with surgical defect size from keratinocyte carcinoma (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin). Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2005; Feb, 124(2): 308-14.
  16. Risica PM, Nobmann ED, Caulfield LE, Schraer C, Ebbesson SO. Springtime macronutrient intake of Alaska natives of the Bering Straits Region: the Alaska Siberia Project. International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2005; Jun;64(3):222-33.
  17. Ebbesson, SOE, Risica PM, Ebbesson LOE, Kennish JM. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce glucose intolerance and improve metabolic syndrome risk factors for CVD and DM in Alaskan Eskimos: The Alaska Siberia Project. International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2005; 64(4): 396-408.
  18. Ebbesson SOE, Adler A, Schraer C, Risica PM, Ebbesson LOE, Mayer AM, Doolittle W, Ehlert G, Swenson M, Robbins DC. Cardiovascular disease in three Alaskan Eskimo Populations: The Alaska Siberia Project. International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2005; 64(4): 365-386.
  19. Ebbesson SOE, Risica PM, Ebbesson LOE, Kennish JM. Eskimos have CHD despite high consumption of omega 3 fatty acids: the Alaska Siberia project. International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2005; 64(4): 387-395.
  20. Strolla LO, Gans KM, Risica PM. Using qualitative and quantitative formative research to develop tailored nutrition intervention materials for a diverse low-income audience. Health Education Research 2006; 21: 465-476.
  21. Gans KM, Burkholder GJ Jr, Risica PM, Harrow B, Lasater TM. Cost-effectiveness of minimal contact education strategies for cholesterol change. Ethnicity and Disease 2006; Spring;16(2):443-51.
  22. Taylor JS, Risica PM, Geller L, Kirtania U, Cabral HJ. Duration of breastfeeding among first time mothers in the United States: results of a national survey. Acta Pediatrica 2006; Aug, 95(8): 980-4.
  23. Gans KM, Risica PM, Wylie-Rosett J, Ross EM, Strolla LO, McMurray J, Eaton CB. Development and evaluation of the nutrition component of the Rapid Eating and Activity Assessment for Patients (REAP): a new tool for primary care providers. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2006; Sep-Oct;38(5):286-92.
  24. Risica PM, Phipps M. Educational media preferences in a prenatal clinic population. International Journal of Childbirth Education 2006; 21(4): 4-7.
  25. Young TK, Bjerregaard P, Dewailly E, Risica PM, Jørgensen ME, Ebbesson SE. Prevalence of obesity and its metabolic correlates among the circumpolar inuit in 3 countries. American Journal of Public Health 2007; Apr;97(4):691-5. Epub 2007 Feb 28.
  26. Anderson CAM, Kumanyika SK, Shults J, Kallan MJ, Gans KM, Risica PM. Assessing Change in Dietary Fat Behaviors in a Weight Loss Program for African Americans: A potential short method. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007; May, 107(5): 838-42.
  27. Weinstock MA, Risica PM, Martin RA, Rakowski W, Dubé C, Berwick M, Goldstein MG, Acharyya S, Lasater T. Melanoma early detection with thorough skin self-examination: the "Check It Out" randomized trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007; Jun; 32(6):517-24.
  28. Risica PM, Burkholder G, Gans K, Lasater T. Assessing Fat-Related Dietary Behaviors among Black Women: Reliability and Validity of a new Food Habits Questionnaire. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2007; Jul-Aug, 39(40): 197-204.
  29. Martin R, Weinstock M, Risica PM, Smith K. Factors associated with thorough Skin Self-Examination for the Early Detection of Melanoma. Journal of the European Academy of Dermato-veneriology 2007; Sep, 21(8): 1074-81.
  30. Taylor JS, Geller L, Risica PM, Kirtania U, Cabral HJ. Birth order and breastfeeding initiation: results of a national survey. Breastfeeding Medicine 2008; Mar;3(1):20-7.
  31. Lee KB, Weinstock MA, Risica PM. Components of a Successful Intervention for Monthly Skin Self-Examination for Early Detection of Melanoma: The “Check It Out” Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2008; 58(6): 1006-12.
  32. Risica PM, Weinstock M, Martin R, Smith K. Body satisfaction effect on thorough skin self-examination American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2008; 35(1): 68-72.
  33. Gans K, Risica PM. Dietary behaviors of Black women who enrolled in SisterTalk: Implications for future dietary studies with Black women. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2009; Jan-Feb; 41(1): 32-40.
  34. Gans KM, Risica PM, Strolla LO, Kirtania U, Acharyya S, Upegui D, Fournier L. Effectiveness of Different Methods for Delivering Tailored Nutrition Education to Low Income, Ethnically Diverse Adults. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2009; 6:24.
  35. LaMont L, Risica PM. Weight Gain and Weight Management Concerns for Patients on Beta Blockers. Nutrition Today 2010; 45(6):250-252.
  36. Mello J, Gans KM, Risica PM, Fournier L, Kirtania U, Strolla LO. How is food insecurity associated with dietary behaviors? An analysis with low income, ethnically diverse participants in a nutrition intervention study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2010; Dec 110(12), 1906-1911.
  37. Lasky T, Kogut S, Campbell S, Risica PM. Computer kiosks to deliver medication information in the pharmacy. Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet 2011; Nov 15 (4), 1-13.
  38. Jiang Y, Risica PM, Arias W, Perry D, Viner-Brown S. Perceived Weight Status Effect on Adolescent Health Risk Behaviors: Findings from 2007 and 2009 Rhode Island Youth Risk Behavioral Survey. School Mental Health 2011; Dec 13
  39. Markova A, Weinstock M, Risica PM, Kirtania U, Ombao H. The Role of Gender in Examination and Counseling for Melanoma in Primary Care. Archives of Internal Medicine 2011; Dec 201: 171 (21).
  40. Johnson P, Risica PM, Gans KM, Kirtania U, Kumanyika SK. Association of perceived racial discrimination with eating behaviors and obesity among participants of the SisterTalk study. Journal of the National Black Nurses Association 2012 Jul;23(1):34-40.
  41. Markova A, Weinstock MA, Risica PM, Kirtania U, Shaikh WR, Ombao H, Chambers C, Kabongo M Kallail KJ, Post D. Effect of a web-based curriculum on primary care practice: Basic Skin Cancer Triage trial. Family Medicine 2013; Sep;45(8):558-68.
  42. Risica PM, Gans KM, Kumanyika S, Kirtania U, Lasater TM. SisterTalk: final results of a culturally tailored cable television delivered weight control program for Black women. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013; Dec 27;10:141.
  43. Hartman SJ, Risica PM, Gans KM, Marcus BH, Eaton CB. Tailored weight loss intervention in obese adults within primary care practice: rationale, design, and methods of Choose to Lose. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2014; Jul;38(2):409-19.
  44. Dulin-Keita A, Risica PM, Drenner KL Adams I, Gorham G, Gans KM. Feasibility and Acceptability of an Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Intervention: Results from the Healthy Homes, Healthy Families Pilot Study Journal of Obesity 2014; (2014) Article 378501.
  45. Tovar A, Risica PM, Mena N, Lawson E, Ankoma A, Gans K. Effective Policy Implementation in Child Care Homes: An assessment of Practices and Attitudes Related to Nutrition Training, Feeding and Parental Involvement in Family Child Care Homes. Preventive Chronic Disease 2015; Jun 4;12:E88.
  46. Risica PM, DeMeester RH, Weinstock MA, Gans KM, Markova A, Shaikh W, Chambers C, Kabongo M, Kallail K, Post D. Effect of a Weight Web Course on Primary Care Practice: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Family Medicine & Community Health 2015; 2(4): 1039.
  47. Gans KM, Risica PM, Dulin-Keita A, Dawood M and Strolla L. Innovative Video Tailoring for Dietary Change: Final Results of the Good for You! Cluster Randomized Trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2015; 12:130.
  48. Tovar A, Mena N, Risica PM, Goram G, Gans KM. Nutrition and Physical Activity Environments of Home-Based Child Care: What Hispanic Providers have to Say. Childhood Obesity 2015; Oct;11(5):521-9.
  49. Gans KM, Salkeld J, Risica PM, Lenz E, Burton D, Mello J, Butler JB. Occupation is related to Weight and Lifestyle Factors among Employees at Worksites Involved in a Weight Gain Prevention Study Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine 2015; 57(10), Oct p e114–e120.
  50. Gorham G, Dulin-Keita A, Risica PM, Mello J, Papandonatos G, Nunn A, Gorham S, Roberson M, Gans KM. Effectiveness and acceptability of ‘Fresh To You’— an innovative, discount fresh fruit and vegetable market program in low-income neighborhoods. Preventing Chronic Disease 2015; 12; October 25.
  51. Assaf AR, Beresford SAA, Risica PM, Aragaki A, Brunner RL, Bowen DJ, Naughton M, Rosal MC, Snetselaar L, Wenger N. Low-fat dietary pattern intervention and health-related quality of life: The WHI Randomized controlled Dietary Modification Trial. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016; Feb;116(2):259-71.
  52. Gans KM, Gorham G, Risica PM, Dulin-Keita A, Dionne L; Gao T, Peters S, Principato L. A multi-level intervention in subsidized housing sites to increase fruit and vegetable access and intake: Rationale, design and methods of the 'Live Well, Viva Bien' cluster randomized trial. BMC Public Health 2016; 16:521.
  53. Weinstock MA, Ferris LA, Saul MI, Geller AC, Risica PM, Siegel JA, Solano FX, Kirkwood JM. Downstream consequences of melanoma screening in a community practice setting: first results. Cancer 2016; Oct 15;122(20):3152-3156.
  54. Risica PM, Amin S, Ankoma A, Lawson E. The food and activity environments of childcare centers in Rhode Island: A directors’ survey. BMC Nutrition 2016; 2:41 (8 July 2016).
  55. Eaton C, Hartman S, Schindler E, Pan G, Roberts Mary, Risica PM, Gans K, Jakicic J, Marcus B. A Randomized Clinical Translational Trial of a Tailored Lifestyle Intervention for Obese, Sedentary Patients in Primary Care: Choose to Lose Study Annals of Family Medicine 2016; 14(4):311-9.
  56. Risica PM, Parker DR, Hardy N, Salkeld J. Smoking Cessation during Pregnancy: Thoughts Expressed during Motivational Interviewing. Journal of Family Medicine 2016; 3(9): 1087.
  57. Risica PM, Parker D, Jennings E, Gavarkovs A, Phipps M. A tailored video intervention to reduce smoking and environmental tobacco exposure during and after pregnancy: Rationale, design and methods of Baby’s Breath. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2017; 52, Pages 1–9.
  58. Risica, PM, McCausland K. Infant feeding decisions and behaviours among low-income 2 smoke-exposed women: timing and change during pregnancy. Public Health Nutrition 2017. (In press)

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