Virginia Chaidez came to UNL after serving as the lead Evaluation Analyst for the University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program (UC CalFresh NEP), State office. CalFresh Nutrition Education is the brand name in California for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education or SNAP-Ed. Her research focuses on health disparities, particularly those affecting the Latino population including obesity, diabetes and developmental disabilities. Her approach to research generally consists of mixed methods and more recently making deliberate attempts to work across disciplines for new insight and approaches to addressing complex public health problems. Her research on child-feeding practices in the context of obesity prevention has provided new insight into common parenting styles of Latino families which have been shown to affect outcomes. Her research in autism has provided a better depiction of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and diagnosis disparities in Latinos; a better estimate in the prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) problems in children; and established a link between GI problems and problematic behaviors in children with ASD. Current interests related to obesity include examining the effects of stress on coping behaviors or decision-making around food choices; and investigating whether Helicobacter pylori infection is an independent risk factor for development of diabetes.