Behavioral Health Speakers

George Khalil, PhD, MPH

Georges E. Khalil, M.P.H., Ph.D. is an Instructor at the Department of Behavioral Science of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. His research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of electronic health (e-Health) interventions that can shift social and behavioral outcomes related to various domains of cancer prevention. He has been involved in several competitively funded projects, both local and global, including the testing of a smoking prevention program for adolescents in the United States and Eastern Europe, and the study of nicotine dependence among adolescents in Spain, Thailand, Russia, and the United States. Dr. Khalil has received several awards for his accomplishments, including the Early Career Investigator Award from the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Europe.

Shreela Sharma PhD, RD, LD

Dr Shreela Sharma is Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. Dr. Sharma is a behavioral epidemiologist with specific expertise in designing, implementing and evaluating sustainable, community-centric interventions to address food insecurity and childhood obesity in underserved populations and has a robust research program in this area. She is also co-founder of Brighter Bites (, a nonprofit organization that converts food waste into a public health opportunity by purposefully channeling reclaimed produce along with hands-on nutrition education to low-income children and families. Since 2012, Brighter Bites has been disseminated to over 50,000 families across Houston, Austin, Dallas, Washington DC, New York City, and Southwest Florida. Dr. Sharma has also been engaged in development and evaluation of CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health,, a Texas Education Agency approved coordinated school health program with proven effects on reducing obesity among at-risk children. More recently, Dr. Sharma developed the CATCH Healthy Smiles oral health promotion program for elementary school children in Texas. Dr. Sharma also developed the CATCH Early Childhood preschool-based program to improve opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for children ages 3 to 5 while they are at preschool. CATCH Early has been disseminated in over 1300 preschools across the United States. Dr. Sharma has a PhD in Epidemiology, masters in physical therapy and is a registered dietitian in the state of Texas.

Sheryl McCurdy, PhD

Dr. McCurdy is an associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health. She has conducted NIH-, CDC-, PCORI-, Fulbright-, NSF- and Social Science Research Council health related research for over 30years. During the last 15 years, Dr. McCurdy worked as part of multidisciplinary HIV prevention teams in Tanzania, to develop the first public medication assisted treatment clinics on the African continent. Last year she served as an expert group member for the Global Commission on Drugs developing a model drug law for West African countries. She is a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Drug Policy and Medicine Anthropology Theory. Her current work on health disparities examines household recovery post-Hurricane Harvey, chronic pain management, and opioid recovery in Texas.