Current Research and Scholarly Interests
For the past 15 years, Dr. Kiernan has conducted research on behavioral weight management at the Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC), a Division of the Stanford University Department of Medicine. SPRC is multidisciplinary, focused on research and teaching, and dedicated to the improvement of health through the prevention and effective management of chronic disease influenced by lifestyle behaviors via randomized clinical trials, community intervention studies, and population-based surveys among diverse samples of all ages, ethnic groups, and social strata living in northern Californian communities.
Her research interests include: (1) testing tailored behavioral interventions that promote long-term lifestyle changes and weight management among subgroups at risk; and (2) developing methodological and statistical approaches that improve the design, delivery, and analysis of randomized clinical trials. The latter includes using risk classification methods to better identify subgroups at risk, improving recruitment of ethnic minorities into clinical trials, and clarifying approaches for testing the role of moderators and mediators.
From 2001-2007, Dr. Kiernan was the Research Director of the Scholarly Concentration in Community Health at the Stanford University School of Medicine in which she advised 45+ medical students who conducted individual research projects in collaboration with local and international community health partnerships using mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approaches. In 2007, she returned to her primary focus on obesity research, including as PI of the Fresh Start trial (R01 CA112594) designed to test whether learning a set of novel ‘stability skills’ first (i.e., before losing weight) promotes better long-term maintenance of weight loss than traditional maintenance approaches.