Focus Areas: Obesity & The Food System
Bloomberg Associate Professor of American Health
Associate Professor, International Health
Melissa Walls, PhD (first-generation descendant of Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe), is a Bloomberg Associate Professor of American Health. An expert in diabetes and substance use prevention, she has engaged in health research partnerships with Native communities for over 17 years. Her involvement in community-based participatory research projects includes mental health epidemiology; culturally relevant, family-based substance use prevention and mental health promotion programming and evaluation; and examining the impact of stress and mental health on diabetes and related health outcomes, including obesity.
In August 2019, Walls was named the inaugural director of the Center for American Indian Health’s new Great Lakes Hub in Duluth, Minnesota. For more than three decades, the Center has partnered with American Indian and Alaska Native communities to improve health, well-being, and self-sufficiency.
Walls received her PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after serving as a National Institute of Mental Health Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellow. She was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as an Interdisciplinary Research Leader in 2017. Prior to joining the Bloomberg School, she was an associate professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus' Department of Biobehavioral Health and Population Sciences.