Scherezade K. 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 physical activity and health promotion among underserved and vulnerable populations, including racial/ethnic minorities, women, low-income populations, and rural residents. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms through which the social environment and psychosocial factors influence health risk behaviors, such as physical activity/inactivity, that contribute to health disparities and inequities in these populations. My work seeks to target these mechanisms and pathways to develop and improve evidence-based interventions to increase physical activity and to prevent and control cancer, obesity, and other chronic diseases. My work is translational in nature, moving research from the clinic into practice in the community in an effort to impact population health, reduce health disparities and improve health equity.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015, Cancer Prevention and Health Disparities Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), 2013, Community Health Practice (Minor in Biostatistics and Concentration in Leadership Studies), The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, USA
Master of Public Health (MPH), 2009, Community Health Practice, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, USA


  • Disparities in physical activity/inactivity among racial/ethnic minorities, women, low-income and rural populations
  • Ecologic correlates of physical activity/inactivity in underserved and vulnerable populations
  • Psychosocial interventions to promote physical activity and reduce physical inactivity-related health disparities
  • Physical activity promotion along the cancer control continuum (prevention through survivorship)

Selected Publications

Mama SK, McNeill LH, Soltero EG, Orlando Edwards R, Lee RE. Contribution of Psychosocial Factors to Physical Activity in Women of Color in the Saving Lives Staying Active (SALSA) Study. J Aging Phys Act. 2017;25(3):351-359. (


Mama SK, Song J, Ortiz A, Tirado-Gomez M, Palacios C, Hughes DC, Basen-Engquist K. Longitudinal social cognitive influences on physical activity and sedentary time in Hispanic breast cancer survivors. Psychooncology. 2017;26(2):214-221. (


Mama SK, Li Y, Basen-Engquist K, Lee RE, Thompson D, Wetter DW, Nguyen NT, Reitzel LR, McNeill LH. Psychosocial Mechanisms Linking the Social Environment to Mental Health in African Americans. PLoS One. 2016;11(4):e0154035. (


Mama SK, Diamond PM, McCurdy SA, Evans AE, McNeill LH, Lee RE. Individual, social and environmental correlates of physical activity in overweight and obese African American and Hispanic women: A structural equation model analysis. Prev Med Rep. 2015;2:57-64. (


Mama SK, McCurdy SA, Evans AE, Thompson DI, Diamond PM, Lee RE. Using community insight to understand physical activity adoption in overweight and obese African American and Hispanic women: a qualitative study. Health Educ Behav. 2015;42(3):321-8. (


Mama SK, McNeill LH, McCurdy SA, Evans AE, Diamond PM, Adamus-Leach HJ, Lee RE. Psychosocial factors and theory in physical activity studies in minorities. Am J Health Behav. 2015;39(1):68-76. (

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Scherezade Mama vitae

Strategic Themes

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