Dirk deHeer, PhD

Dirk deHeer Assistant Professor
Northern Arizona University
Physical Therapy, Flagstaff Campus
Phone: 928-523-1499
Fax: 928-523-9289

Professional Interests:

Dr. de Heer’s background includes training in health psychology, public health and genomics. His work has primarily focused on community-based physical activity interventions and prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. He is interested in applying new developments and innovative approaches to health problems, particularly among underserved populations.

Current research projects (as Principal Investigator):

  • Metabolic and biomechanical impact of body weight supported running and walking on the Alter-g anti-gravity treadmill (funded by the Arizona Technology and Research Initiative Fund)
  • Assessment of summer activity among minority students in Flagstaff, AZ (funded by the NAU Faculty Grants Program).
  • Promoting NIH summer internships for Native American students (funded by the John and Sophie Ottens Foundation and the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention)
  • Cancer prevention among Native American cancer survivors pilot project (partially funded by the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention, NIH U54CA143925, NCI)


2009-2011 Post Doctoral Fellowship in Public Health Genomics. National Human Genome Research Institute, Social and Behavioral Research Branch, Bethesda, MD.
2005-2009 PhD Health Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.
2007-2009 MPH University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center School of Public Health, El Paso satellite campus, El Paso, TX.
2004-2005 Rijks Universiteit Groningen, M.S. Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Groningen, The Netherlands. 

Selected recent publications:

de la Haye, K., de Heer, H.D.,  Wilkinson, A. & Koehly, L. (2012). Predictors of Parent-Child Relationships that Support Physical Activity in Mexican American Families. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. (Epub online December 1st 2012). PMID: 23203139.

de Heer, H.D., Wilkinson, A.V., Strong, L.L., Bondy, M.L. & Koehly, L. (2012). Sitting time and health outcomes among Mexican origin adults: obesity as a mediator. BMC Public Health, 12, 896. PMID: 23092387.

Ayode Alembo, D., McBride, C., de Heer, H.D., Tadele, G., Watanabe, E., & Davey, G. (2012). The Association of Beliefs About Heredity with Preventive and Interpersonal Behaviors in Communities Affected by Podoconiosis in Rural Ethiopia. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 87(4):623-630.PMID:22826482.

de Heer, H.D., Chaudhari, L.S. & Morera, O.F. (2012). Everyone gets healthier: Impact and spillover of an after-school physical activity and health education program along the U.S.-Mexico border (Chapter 14): In: Wall Medrano, A. (Eds.). Health and nutrition in elementary schools (Volume III) (in Spanish). Universidad Autonómica Ciudad Juarez. 

de Heer, H.D., Balcazar, H.G., Castro, F. & Schulz, L.O.  (2012). A path analysis of a randomized promotora de salud CVD-prevention trial among at-risk Hispanic adults. Health Education and Behavior, 39(1), 77-86. PMID: 21680806.

de Heer, H.D., Koehly, L. & Pederson, R., Morera, O. (2011). Everyone gets healthier: Effectiveness and spillover of an after-school health promotion program for Hispanic elementary school children. American Journal of Public Health, 101(10), 1907-1913. PMID: 21852659.

de Heer, H.D., Balcazar, H.G., Cardenas, V., Rosenthal, E.L.& Schulz, L.O. (2011). Ethnic Pride and Cardiovascular Health among Mexican American Adults along the U.S. – Mexico Border. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 33(2), 204-220. PMID: 2210060

Balcazar, H.G., de Heer, H.,  Rosenthal, E.L., Aguirre, M., Flores, L., Puentes, F.A., Cardenas, V.M., Duarte, M.O., Ortiz, M. & Schulz, L.O. (2010). A Promotores de Salud Intervention To  Reduce CVD Risk Factors Among An At-Risk Border Population of Hispanic/Mexican Origin Participants. Preventing Chronic Disease, 7(2),1-10. PMID: 20158973 

Balcazar, H.G., Rosenthal, E.L., de Heer, H., Aguirre, M., Flores, L., Vasquez, E., Duarte, M.O. &  Schulz, L.O.  (2009). Use of CBPR to showcase baseline results for building a cardiovascular risk profile for Mexican Americans living in a U.S-Mexico border community. Education for Health, 22 (3), 1-10.

Kong, P.W. & de Heer, H. (2009). Wearing an in-shoe pressure measuring system altered gait characteristics during running. Gait and Posture,29 (1), 143-145. PMID: 18621533.

Kong, P.W. & de Heer, H. (2008). Anthropometric, gait and strength characteristics of Kenyan distance runners. Journal of Sport Science and Medicine, 7(4), 499-504.