Dr. Denise D. Payán, PhD, MPP, is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at the University of California, Merced (UC Merced). She is the principal investigator of the Community Health & Innovative Policy (CHIP) Lab at UC Merced and is Deputy Director of the state-wide research translation center known as the California Initiative for Health Equity & Action (Cal-IHEA). Dr. Payán is a health policy researcher whose interests include examining the health policymaking process; evaluating interventions to address obesity and nutrition-related health disparities; and understanding how policy impacts health behavior. She obtained a PhD in Public Policy and Management from USC's Sol Price School of Public Policy and MPP from Harvard Kennedy School. She received a B.A. in History and Science, Certificate in Health Policy, and Citation in Spanish from Harvard College. She also trained as a Health Services Research Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the RAND Corporation.