For Participants

We would like to thank all of our families in the Family Matters study for their continued participation. The success of Family Matters would not have been possible without our families. Our families have made important contributions to aid in creating interventions for healthier futures for children.

If you have any questions about our study or website please email us at We have staff members who are readily able to reply in the following languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Somali

Summary Pages

Phase I Summary

Families, get to know the Family Matters team!

Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE
Role: Principal Investigator

Amanda Trofholz
Role: Project Director
Length of time with the team: 8 years
Fun fact: I love cats and currently have 4 living in my house.
Research interest: I have enjoyed learning more through the Family Matters study about family meals, assessing dietary intake, and the home food environment.
Hobbies: I love to garden and am always working on becoming a more advanced sewer. I also try to do the crossword puzzle every day.

Doctoral and Post-doctoral Students

Junia N. de Brito
Role: Graduate Research Assistant (Analyst)
Length of time with the team: 18 months
Fun fact: I had a bunny growing up
Research interests: The role of nutrition, physical activity, and social environmental influences in the prevention of obesity and related chronic diseases in racial/ethnic minority populations.
Hobbies: I love cooking, travelling, and spending quality time with my husband.

Gretchen Buchanan
Role: Graduate Research Assistant (Analyst)


Angela Fertig, PhD
Role: Co-investigator, Economist
Length of time with the team: 5-6 years
Fun fact: In my adult life, I have paid taxes in 10 different states.
Research interest: Social determinants of health, food insecurity, maternal and child health, disparities
Hobbies: I like to sew, crochet, cross-stitch, etc. I am addicted to audio books. I tried stand-up paddle boarding recently and now want to live on a lake.

Katie Loth, PhD, MPH

Allan Tate, PhD, MPH

Admin Student and Staff

Sherri Fong
Role: Staff for Recruitment and Retention 
Length of time with the team: 8 years
Fun Fact: I have recently taken up gardening
Research Interest: I enjoy working with communities, particularly with families and young children in the area of health promotion.
Hobbies: I enjoy reading, doing puzzles, and being outdoors with my family.

John Martone
Role: Student Researcher
Length of time with the team: 13 months
Fun Fact: I have 6 wisdom teeth
Research Interest: Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) across various socioeconomic backgrounds
Hobbies: Exercising, reading, and drinking coffee

Lauren Tschida
Role: Student Researcher
Length of time with the team: 7 months
Fun Fact: I’ve been to 49 states
Research Interest: I'm interested in how the geography of a neighborhood translates into predictive measures for obesity
Hobbies: Traveling, cooking and going to concerts

Camille Samuelson
Role: Student Researcher 
Length of time with the team: 6 months
Fun Fact: I am biracial
Research Interest: My research interests include BIPOC health equity, the educational achievement gap between BIPOC and white students and racial identity
Hobbies: I enjoy getting Boba, eating Thai food and playing soccer

Hannaan Shire
Role: Researcher – Somali Interpreter

Laura Villarreal
Role: Student Researcher - Spanish Interpreter
I have been with the team for 7 months
Fun fact: I play the flute
Research Interests: Reproductive health and justice, BIPOC health, and nutrition
Hobbies: I enjoy watching scary movies, going for walks, and painting