Leigh Ann Simmons, PhD, MFT

Leigh Ann Simmons photo

Position Title
Professor and Chair of Human Ecology

she/her/hers
2323 Hart Hall
Bio

Interested in working with Dr. Simmons? Read about her award-winning mentoring here!

Dr. Simmons is Chair and Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of California, Davis, Director of the Health Equity Across the Lifespan (HEAL) Lab, and Co-Director of the UC Davis Perinatal Origins of Disparities (POD) Center. The overall aim of Dr. Simmons’ research, which has been funded by the NIH, the USDA, and the Veterans Health Administration, is to promote population health equity in the incidence and prevalence of common chronic diseases (e.g., obesity, depression, cardiometabolic disorders, cancer) with a specific focus on childbearing women, rural residents, and underrepresented minorities. She has published extensively and presented nationally and internationally on three core areas of scholarship: (1) characterizing co-occurring chronic disease risk factors for specific disparities populations (e.g., rural, minorities); (2) understanding the impact of early life exposures (e.g., prenatal, family, and community environments) on later life chronic disease risk; and (3) developing and testing remote delivery models (e.g. text, telephone) of personalized behavioral change interventions to reduce chronic disease risk. Dr. Simmons earned a PhD in child and family development from the University of Georgia, a master's degree in couple and family therapy from MCP-Hahnemann University (now Drexel University), and a BA in literature/writing from the University of California at San Diego. Between 2005-2010 she served as a Health Disparities Scholar through the NIH Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Simmons has extensive policy experience, having served as a Congressional Fellow on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA).