Denise Payán

Denise D. Payán is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of California, Merced. She directs the Community Health & Innovative Policy (CHIP) Lab which conducts applied public health and health services research to promote equitable and community-oriented policy solutions. Her research interests include evaluating interventions to address obesity and nutrition-related health disparities; and understanding how policy impacts health behavior. She has evaluated community-engaged research interventions with unique policy and technology components (SMS messages) to reduce obesity levels in minority communities. Dr. Payán obtained a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management from USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and an M.P.P. from Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to coming to UC Merced, she was a Health Services Research post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Health Policy and Management at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the RAND Corporation.

Research Interests: health policy, obesity, nutrition, food security, HIV/AIDS, evaluation, global health

Research Thrusts

Research Areas



  • UC Merced | Public Health