Faculty and Staff

Jeanette Garcia is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences at UCF. She holds a MS in Psychology and a PhD in Exercise Physiology, with an emphasis on public health and behavioral medicine. Her area of research focused on the development and implementation of community-based health interventions to improve physical and psychosocial health in children and adolescents. Garcia has a particular interest in examining health behaviors in youth with social/emotional/behavioral disorders, primarily Autism Spectrum Disorder. The majority of her research takes place in school settings, using objective measures of behavior monitoring (e.g. accelerometers) to assess health behaviors such as physical activity, sedentary time, and sleep quality in typically developing youth and youth with social/emotional/behavioral disorders. Additionally, she aims to further examine how the promotion of health behaviors in school settings may influence classroom behavior and academic performance, particularly for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Areas of Expertise
  • Special populations
  • Mixed-method designs
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Activity assessment
Credentials
  • Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, Exercise Physiology, University of Virginia
  • MS, Master of Science, Psychology
  • Postdoctoral Training, Harvard University
Affiliations
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
Recent Publications

Ash T, Bowling A, Davison KK, Garcia JM. Physical activity interventions for children with social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities: A systematic review. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 2017; 38:431 – 445.

Healy S, Haegle JA, Grenier M, Garcia JM. Physical Activity, Screen-Time Behavior, and Obesity among 13-year olds in Ireland with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2017; 47: 49-57.

Garcia JM, Agaronov A, Sirard JR, Whaley D, Rice DJ, Weltman A. Psychosocial and Friend Influences on Sedentary Behavior and Screen Time: A Mixed Methods Analysis. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2017; 14: 213-221.

Garcia JM, Cox DJ, Rice DJ. Associations of Physiological and Psychological Health Outcomes with Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. 2017; 14: 213-221.

Garcia JM, Sirard JR, Larson R, Bruening M, Wall M, Neumark-Stzainer D. Social and Psychological Factors Associated With Adolescent Physical Activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. September 2016; 13(9): 957-963.

Current Funded Projects

Partnership to Increase Physical Activity and Overall Well-being in Typically Developing Girls and Girls with Varying Exceptionalities: Girls on the Run Program – August 2017 – present

Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Modified-Judo Training Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder – April 2017 – present

Areas of Specialty
  • Health behaviors in youth with social/emotional/behavioral disorders
  • Community-based health interventions
  • Link between health behaviors (physical activity, nutrition, sleep, screen time) & academic performance
Research Grants
Health Sciences

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in Low-Income Minority Women with Prior Gestational Diabetes

  • PI: Jaqueline Lamanna
  • Co-PI: Susan Quelly
  • Co-Is: Jeanette Garcia
  • Co-Is: Angeline Bushy
  • Amount: $10,000 | Timeframe: 11/01/2019 - 09/01/2020
    Funding Type: Foundation/Industry
    Funding Agency: Swift Family Grant Foundation
    Health Sciences

    Development of a Family-Centered Cooking Class for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • PI: Jeanette Garcia
  • Co-PI: Keith Brazendale
  • Co-PI: Eunkyung “Muriel” Lee
  • Co-PI: Shawn Lawrence
  • Amount: $25,000 | Timeframe: 07/01/2019 - 06/30/2020
    Funding Type: Extramural Research
    Funding Agency: Healthy Weight Research Network
  • UCF helps empower kids with autism through Judo
    Written By: BRI MACNAUGHT | SPECTRUM NEWS 13 | May 4, 2022
    It’s a Saturday afternoon as Brian Burns and his dad get ready for Judo class, but it’s not just any Judo class. “We developed a judo program for children with...
  • CHPS Faculty Members Receive UCF RIA Awards
    Written By: Drexler B. James'13 | May 2, 2022
    Congratulations to Department of Health Sciences faculty members, Michael Rovito and Jeanette Garcia, for receiving the 2022 UCF Research Incentive Award. This award recognizes outstanding research, scholarly, or creative activity...
  • Celebrating Founders’ Day Honorees in CHPS
    Written By: Drexler B. James'13 | April 7, 2022
    Congratulations to the faculty and students in the College of Health Professions and Sciences who were recognized at this year’s UCF Founders’ Day award ceremony on April 6.  Excellence in...
  • 2022 UCF Founders’ Day Honorees
    Written By: ALLISON HURTADO ’12 | April 6, 2022
    The Founders’ Day Honors Convocation celebrates those who contribute to UCF’s growing quality and impact. UCF has never followed what other universities have done, and the future of the university...
  • UCF Research Program Tracking Autism Behaviors with Mixed Martial Arts
    Written By: Arianna Anaya | April 5, 2022
    Studying the effects of how judo, a form of mixed martial arts, can change physical behaviors within autism children around the UCF community started with assistant professor Jeanette Garcia. The...
  • Recipients of the 2022 Seed Funding Program Announced
    Written By: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | March 10, 2022
    The program awarded a total of $1 million to 32 teams. This is the third year the program has been available to UCF faculty and researchers. UCF announced the recipients...
  • Undergraduate Health Sciences Students Showcase Research Proposals at Symposium
    Written By: Drexler James | December 9, 2021
    Students enrolled in HSC4730 Applied Health Research Methods presented their research project proposals to faculty judges during the Department of Health Sciences Fall 2021 Research Symposium on Dec. 8 at...
  • Judo Program Receives Over $75,000 from Florida Fraternal Order of the Eagles
    Written By: Megan Pabian | October 15, 2021
    The Florida Fraternal Order of the Eagles (FOE) has donated more than $75,000 to the UCF Judo Program to help expand the program and continue its work to improve students’...
  • Genius Foundation Awards $300,000 To UCF Interdisciplinary Health Research
    Written By: WENDY SARUBBI | October 7, 2021
    Eight interdisciplinary faculty research projects — on health topics including pain management, improving provider-patient communication, and intimate partner violence — have received about $300,000 in grant funding through a new...
  • School of Social Work’s CBHRT: Fueling Scientific Collaboration and Expanding Professional Expertise
    Written By: UCF School of Social Work | October 7, 2021
    The Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training (CBHRT) was established in 2017 and is the first of its kind in the School of Social Work. The CBHRT serves a unique purpose to link practitioners...
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