Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa

Health Policy & Management, Dean's Office, Epidemiology & Biostatistics,
Associate Professor
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Director, Economic Evaluation Research Group
Director, Obesity and Weight Management Certificate

Curriculum Vitae

Health Policy & Management, Dean's Office, Epidemiology & Biostatistics,


Ph.D. Applied Economics (2014), Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

M.P.A. International Development (2011), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

M.S. Agricultural Economics (2007), Tribhuvan University, Nepal

B.S.  Agricultural Economics (2005), Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Areas of Expertise

Research: childhood obesity, behavioral economics, policy evaluation

Teaching: obesity policy, health economics


Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

American Society of Health Economists

Course Instruction

HPAM 7050 Obesity Policy

HPAM 8600 Health Economics

Research Interests

Dr. Thapa’s specialty is in policy oriented research primarily field and community based research, program planning and evaluation, and application of behavioral economics in addressing childhood obesity and food behavior.

Selected Publications

(* represent senior/corresponding author, student advisee italicized)

Rajbhandari-Thapa J., D. Zhang, H. Padilla, and S.R. Chung. Opioid-related hospitalizations, its association with comorbidities. Preventing Chronic Diseases (revise and resubmit)

Shi, L., D. Zhang, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, and N. Katapodis, D. Su, and Y. Li. Neighborhood Immigrant density and Population Health among Native-Born Americans. 2019. Preventive Medicine (revise and resubmit)

vanDellan, M., J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, and J. Sevilla. Does serving vegetables in partitioned portions promote vegetable consumption? 2019. Journal of Food Quality and Preferences

Thapa, K., P.M. Bhandari, D. Neupane, S. Bhochhibhoya, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, and R.P. Pathak. 2019. Physical activity and its correlates among higher secondary school students in an urban district of Nepal. BMC Public Health 19:886.

Katapodis N., D. Zhang, P. Giabbanelli, Y. Li, C. Lyford, and J. Rajbhandari-Thapa*. 2019. Modelling Food Access and Fruits and Vegetable Consumption in a Rural Community of Texas. Health Equity

Zhang, D., G. Wang, W. Zhu, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, J. Switzer, D. Hess, M. L. Smith, M. Ritchey, 2018. Expansion of Tele-stroke Services Improves Quality of Care Especially in Rural Areas: An Analysis of Medicare Fee-For-Service Claims Data from 2008 to 2015. Health Affairs

Rajbhandari-Thapa, J., K. Ingerson, and K. Lewis. 2018. Impact of Tray-less Dining Intervention on Food Choices of University Students. Archives of Public Health. 76:61

Wang S., J. Hua, D. Zhang, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, and Z. Cao. 2018. A Cohort Study Assessing the Sustainable Long-Term Effectiveness of a Childhood Obesity Intervention in China. International Journal of Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyy145

Pullekines, E. B., and J. Rajbhandari-Thapa*. 2018. Health Care Access by Weight Status in the State of Georgia. Journal of Georgia Public Health Association. (forthcoming)

Rajbhandari-Thapa, J. and C. Lyford. 2018. Nudges to Increase Fruits and Vegetables Consumption: Results from a Field Experiment. Journal of Child Nutrition and Management, Volume 42, Issue 1, Spring 2018.

Nguyen, T., J. Rajbhandari-Thapa*, D. Zhang, E. B. Pullekines. 2017. The Association Between Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Weight Status Among Adults in Georgia, Journal of Georgia Public Health Association, Volume 7, No. 1, 12-18.

Li, Y., D. Zhang, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, K. Madondo, S. Yi, E. Fisher, K. Griffin, B. Liu, PhD, Y. Wang, J. A. Pagán, 2017. Assessing the Role of Access and Price on the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables across New York City Using Agent-Based Modeling, Preventive Medicine. 106:73-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.10.014

Rajbhandari-Thapa, J., A. Bennett, F. Keong, W. Palmer, T. Hardy, J. A. Welsh. 2017. Impact of the Strong4Life School Nutrition Program on the Cafeteria Environment and on Manager and Staff Knowledge and Practice. Public Health Reports, 2017 Nov/Dec;132(2_suppl):48S-56S. doi: 10.1177/0033354917723332

Khan, A.S., J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, D. Zhang. 2017. Preventive Dental Checkups and its Association with Access to Usual Source of Care among Rural and Urban Adult Residents. Journal of Rural Health. Sep;33(4):419-426. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12271. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Ghimire, R., S. Ferreira, G. Green, N. Poudyal, H.K. Cordell, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa. 2017. Green Space and Adult Obesity in the United States, Ecological Economics. Volume 136, June 2017, Pages 201-212. 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.02.002

Rajbhandari-Thapa, J., C. Lyford, B. McCool, A. McCool, B.C. Pence, E. Belasco, 2016. Improving Cancer Risk Awareness including Obesity as a Risk Factor for Cancer from a Multi-Tiered Community-based Intervention in a Small US Community, Journal of Cancer Education. doi:10.1007/s13187-016-1060-z

Saswat, P., Ko Otani, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa*. 2016 Weight Status and Satisfaction with Healthcare Received in the U.S. and Georgia. Journal of Georgia Public Health Association, Volume 5, No. 3, Winter 2016, 287-293.

Rajbhandari-Thapa, J., and C. Lyford. 2014. Behavioral Economics in the Lunchroom: Can it Affect Food Supplier Decisions? A Systematic Review. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, Volume 17, Special issue A, 187-208

Barent N. M., C. Lyford, N. Hensarling, A. McCool, B.C. Pence, J. Rajbhandari-Thapa, E. Belasco, T. Carter. 2013. Reducing Cancer Risk in Rural Communities through Community-Based Education. Journal of Cancer Education. 28:597-600.