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From Accountability to Commitment:
The Role of Virtual Others in Motivating Women to Adopt and Attain Health Goals

Location: Moore Building, Room 05

Track Co-chairs

Track Members

Dr. Gamze Yilmaz, Associate Professor, University of Massachussetts Boston

Dr. Gamze Yilmaz is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication from the University University of Texas at Austin. Her first line of research focuses on the cognitive (e.g., message perceptions) and behavioral processes (e.g., vaccine hesitancy, eating habits) as they manifest in language use on social media. Dr. Yilmaz’s second line of research examines collaborative communication processes, and the role design thinking plays on student learning experiences and academic outcomes. She is an alumni of Teaching and Learning Studio at Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford and designs courses on human communication and technology, creative collaboration, and communication research methods using design thinking framework and mindsets. 

Dr. Janani Thapa, Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Janani Thapa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Georgia where she teaches core courses in Obesity Policy and Health Economics. Her academic training is in applied economics. She serves as the Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at the UGA’s College of Public Health. At the Department she leads the Economic Evaluation Research Group. She is also the Associate Editor in Chief for the American Journal of Health Promotion. Her current portfolio of research includes: 1) evaluation of statewide childhood obesity policy in Georgia, 2) identification of promising approaches to promote healthier food purchases among households receiving food safety net benefits, 3) evaluation research to inform policy and programs to prevent obesity, chronic disease, and mental health conditions. She is passionate about addressing disparities (rural-urban, racial, gender) in disease risk factors and patient care.   

Jenny Newcomer, Founder and CEO of Commit30, LLC

Jenny Newcomer is the Founder and CEO of Commit30, LLC, an organizational and paper goods company whose mission is to inspire others to commit to their goals and dreams through products, workshops, and online courses. Jenny has an extensive background in nonprofit management and strategic planning prior to starting Commit30 in 2015. Jenny received a degree in Environmental Science from Colgate University (1998) and a masters in Nonprofit Management and Organizational Development from Regis University (2002). As a cancer thriver/survivor, Jenny knows first hand how important it is to commit to living your dreams now and not someday. Commit30 has helped hundreds of thousands of people commit to living their best lives and making time for what matters most. The online goal-getting community that has flourished behind the brand includes more than 15,000 active participants supporting each other in setting and achieving big and small goals. For more information visit

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