Janani R. Thapa, PhD is an assistant professor in the Health Policy and Management department of the College of Public Health in the University of Georgia.
Janani is working on developing, implementing and evaluating community-based behavioral intervention programs to promote healthy living. She is also interested in the policy impacts on obesity status. She is developing research to evaluate the impact of policies such as state wide obesity prevention policies and safety net policies on obesity status and family food choice decisions. Beside this, her latest involvement was in an extramurally funded project that used behavioral economics to promote healthy food choice decisions in elementary school children towards childhood obesity prevention; she is building on the findings of this research to extend the reach of behavioral economics application in Georgia schools and to include food suppliers in an effort to curb childhood obesity. In her future work, potential topics include: 1) identifying distinct healthy behaviors within a homogenous group for replication, and 2) applying the tools of behavioral economics in preventing risky health behaviors.
Janani earned her graduate degree (M.Sc.Ag.Econ., 2007) from Nepal; then, a Masters in Public Administration (Internal Development concentration) in 2011 from Cornell University, NY and a Doctorate in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Texas Tech University, TX in 2014. Her doctoral dissertation was on the impact evaluation of a public-private partnership for cancer (caused by obesity) prevention on health awareness, cancer risk knowledge and food choice decisions under Dr. Conrad Lyford. Prior to coming to UGA, she served as the president of Agricultural Economics Graduate Student Association in her department at Texas Tech University and she was a Cornell Institute of Public Affairs fellow at the Cornell University. Her current responsibilities at UGA are teaching health and obesity policy and related courses in the Department of Health Policy and Management and expanding research on obesity prevention.