Scherezade  Mama 

photo of Scherezade Mama

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

268J Rec Hall
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-865-1275

Research Interests

My research focuses on social determinants that contribute to obesity-related health behaviors and health disparities. My specific research interests are in physical activity and health promotion among underserved and vulnerable populations, including low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, and women. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms through which the social environment and psychosocial factors influence modifiable behavioral risk factors, like overweight/obesity and physical inactivity, underlying health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities using qualitative and quantitative methods. My research targets these pathways to improve evidence-based interventions and health promotion programs for health behavior change in an effort to reduce obesity, cancer and chronic disease risk.


DrPH, 2013, Management, Policy and Community Health, The University of Texas School of Public Health


  • Racial/ethnic and gender disparities in physical activity/inactivity
  • Impact of the physical and social environment on physical activity/inactivity
  • Psychosocial interventions to increase physical activity and reduce health disparities

Selected Publications

Mama, S. K., Diamond, P. M., McCurdy, S. A., Evans, A. E., McNeill, L. H., & Lee, R. E. (2015). Individual, social and environmental correlates of physical activity in overweight and obese African American and Hispanic women: A structural equation model analysis. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 57-64. 

Mama, S. K., McNeill, L. H., McCurdy, S. A., Evans, A. E., Diamond, P. M., Adamus-Leach, H. J., & Lee, R. E. (2015). Psychosocial factors and theory in physical activity studies in minorities. American Journal of Health Behavior, 39(1), 68-76.

Mama, S. K., McCurdy, S. A., Evans, A. E., Thompson, D. I., Diamond, P. M., & Lee, R. E. (2015). Using community insight to understand physical activity adoption in overweight and obese African American and Hispanic women: a qualitative study. Health Education & Behavior, 42(3), 321-328. 

Lee, R. E., Mama, S. K., Adamus-Leach, H. J., & Soltero, E. G. (2015). Contribution of neighborhood income and access to quality physical activity resources to physical activity in ethnic minority women over time. American Journal of Health Promotion, 29(4), 210-216. 

Mama, S. K., Soltero, E. G., Ledoux, T. A., Gallagher, M. R., & Lee, R. E. (2014). Solving the obesity epidemic: voices from the community. Nursing Inquiry, 21(3), 192-201. 

Smith-Ray, R. L., Mama, S., Reese-Smith, J. Y., Estabrooks, P. A., & Lee, R. E. (2012). Improving participation rates for women of color in health research: the role of group cohesion. Prevention Science, 13(1), 27-35.

Mama, S. K., Quill, B. E., Fernandez-Esquer, M. E., Reese-Smith, J. Y., Banda, J. A., & Lee, R. E. (2011). Body image and physical activity among Latina and African American women. Ethnicity & Disease, 21(3), 281-287.

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Scherezade Mama vitae

Strategic Themes

  • Domains of Health and Behavior
  • Contexts and Social Institutions
  • Populations of Special Interest