Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Director of Undergraduate Studies at the School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Epidemiology


Dr. Risica is an Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences and of Epidemiology at Brown School of Public Health, and serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Brown School of Public Health. Dr. Risica has a B.S. from the Ohio State University, and MPH and DrPH from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Risica has served as Co-Investigator or Principal Investigator for a number of projects involving nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation/avoidance, early detection of melanoma, and opioid use. Dr. Risica leads a pilot R01 Healthy Start study (MPI with K. Gans and A. Tovar) that intervenes to improve the nutritional environment in family childcare settings and family homes, thus improving the dietary intake of children. Dr. Risica led the first Healthy Start project (MPI with K. Gans), which aimed to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments of family childcare homes.  Dr. Risica was PI of SisterTalk@Home as well as two completed studies, "Baby's Breath: Reducing ETS Exposure of Pregnant Women and Newborns", and "SCRIPT New England: Postpartum Maintenance of Abstinence from Tobacco," all of which were initiated by Dr. Thomas Lasater (deceased). 

Dr. Risica is working on several pilot projects to broaden her research with community and academic partners: 1) to combine tobacco smoke avoidance and use with breastfeeding encouragement (funded by the Brown Legoretta Cancer Center) 2) to pilot the use of culturally tailored mindfulness interventions among Black women for healthy eating outcomes (funded by the Brown Mindfulness Center).

Dr. Risica also serves the RI Department of Health (DOH) as the Epidemiologist and Evaluator (2018-2020, 2022-present) for Women's Cancer Screening Program. She previously served in that postition for the WISEWOMAN program (2015-2020) and Initiative for Healthy Weight (IHW) (2009-2014). In these roles Dr. Risica interfaces with many divisions and projects within the DOH as well as the many community partners working on IHW workgroups and projects.

Dr. Risica also serves as the Advocacy Committee Chairperson and is a past President (2018-2020, 2003-04) for the Rhode Island Public Health Association. 

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas