Assistant Professor
School of Community & Environmental Health

Natalie Yarish

NORFOLK, 23529

My doctoral training from The University of Texas at Austin’s health behavior and health education program provided me with foundations in behavior change theory, developing and managing a large physical activity intervention, and a strong, diverse methodological and statistical analysis skill set. As a T32 NIH/NIA postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, I worked on two digital behavior change interventions that utilize text messages, wearable device and social media ecosystems, brief tele-health coaching, and application notifications to increase physical activity levels, and promote weight loss. Additionally, through my work with longitudinal cohort studies, I examine the relationships between social isolation, loneliness, and social support on risk of incident cardiovascular disease and longevity as individuals go through significant life transitions. Prior to my faculty position at ODU, I worked as a research scientist at the VA in La Jolla on a weight-loss clinical trial for active duty military service members.

Currently, I am the PI for a NIH/NHLBI funded project that focuses on co-designing and pilot testing a group-based physical activity intervention that incorporates social connection to reduce social isolation and loneliness for veterans transitioning or reintegrating to civilian life. Ultimately, I believe that designing physical activity interventions where individuals feel a sense of belonging and an associated identity will support lifelong physical activity behaviors.

Contracts, Grants and Sponsored Research

Yarish, N. M.. "Reducing social isolation and loneliness through physical activity to lower cardiovascular disease risk among military women and men reintegrating into civilian life.. Federal. August 8, 2022 -


Physical Activity
Developing and implementing physical activity promotion interventions to improve cardiovascular health.
Physical Activity
Measurement including psychometrics and wearable devices
Physical Activity
Examining social connectedness related to physical activity and cardiovascular health

Research Interests

The overarching theme of my research is how social and psychological factors shape and influence physical activity behaviors and cardiovascular disease. I focus on developing and implementing physical activity promotion interventions to improve cardiovascular health, measurement of physical activity (psychometrics and wearable devices), and examining social connectedness factors related to physical activity and cardiovascular health. My research draws from my training in behavioral science, social psychology, and public health.