- Position: Chair
- Department: Exercise Science and Community Health
- Office Location: Building 72, Room 259
- Campus: (850) 474-2598
Dr. Debra Vinci is the chair and associate professor of health promotion. She currently teaches courses in social marketing, health promotion and technology, and nutrition.
Vinci uses her professional expertise as a community health educator and registered dietitian to prepare students for careers in health promotion.
Her research interests focus on the role community coalitions play in obesity prevention. Vinci is on the board of the Partnership for a Healthy Community, an initiative that promotes collaborative wellness programs to improve health and quality of life for Escambia and Santa Rosa County residents. As chair of one of those initiatives, Live Well Northwest Florida, she helped facilitate a community effort to develop strategies that help at-risk community groups and individuals adopt healthier lifestyle behaviors. Additionally, she is a co-principal operator for Let’s Wiggle 5-2-1-0, a program that trains child care providers on ways they can increase physical activity in the classroom setting.
Vinci is also involved with a childhood hunger task force to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties that experience food insecurity at rates higher than national and state averages. This initiative is also interested in linking these neighborhoods with community resources that promote healthy lifestyles and decrease diet-related chronic disease.
Before coming to UWF in 2004, she developed health education interventions targeting college-age students and worked as the director of health education at University of Washington. As a registered dietitian, she spent 15 years working as an outpatient nutrition counselor with expertise in diabetes education and nutrition therapy with individuals with eating disorders.
She received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human nutrition from University of Vermont, and a doctorate in health education from Loma Linda University.