Keren Valerus is the Project Coordinator of the Building Capacity for Obesity Prevention (BCOP) project at the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health. Her role focuses on coordinating and facilitating the dissemination of the Policy Systems and Environmental Readiness Assessment and Decision Instrument (PSE READI) and website across Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology at Stony Brook University, a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Sciences at SUNY Downstate School of Public Health, and a Master of Science in Medical Physiology at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
Ms. Valerus has an extensive background in human services, where she provided and coordinated person-centered medical, psychiatric and psychosocial services to adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. She increased the capacity and self-efficacy of those she supported by teaching sustainable and effective lifestyle modifications to manage their chronic conditions. Working in human services gave Ms. Valerus countless opportunities to see how policies, systems, and environments affect the health outcomes of others, and the importance of policy change in creating and maintaining health equity. Ms. Valerus’ current research efforts allow her to support community nutrition PSE efforts in diverse rural and urban communities, with the goal of preventing and reducing obesity-related diseases in vulnerable communities.