Brietta Oaks

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Nutrition, Oaks Lab
  • Phone: 401.874.4021
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Fogarty Hall, Rm 203
  • Website


Nutrition and Pregnancy Lab

Courses Taught

  • NUT 207: General Nutrition
  • NUT 441: Micronutrient Nutrition
  • NUT 524: Global Nutrition


Brietta M. Oaks, Ph.D., MPH, joined the University of Rhode Island in 2017 as an assistant professor of nutrition. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of California, Davis in international nutrition, working on research projects in Africa (Ghana and Malawi). Dr. Oaks was drawn to nutrition as a way to help disadvantaged populations. She views prenatal nutrition as a low-cost investment and an important component for reducing racial and global disparities in child mortality and other health outcomes.

Before entering the field of nutrition, Dr. Oaks studied sociology and biology in the pacific northwest at The Evergreen State College, where she also trained as a medical assistant. She lived abroad in Thailand for a year, during which she had the opportunity to volunteer with a doctor that visited hill tribes, which was a pivotal moment in raising her awareness about global health and nutrition.

Dr. Oaks returned to the U.S. to study epidemiology, receiving a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine the association between folic acid and pancreatic cancer risk. She completed her masters’ at George Washington University and her doctorate in nutritional biology at University of California, Davis. Dr. Oaks has received several awards and was named a finalist in the 2017 American Society for Nutrition Emerging Leaders Competition.

Brietta Oaks Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Oaks’ research aims to improve our understanding of how nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy can be used to reduce health disparities, both within the U.S. and globally. Research methods include cohort studies and randomized controlled trials, with a focus on incorporating biomarkers of health and nutritional status. Research themes include birth outcomes, child and adolescent health, maternal health outcomes, micronutrients, cortisol, and obesity during pregnancy.

Presently, Dr. Oaks is part of a large, collaborative research project examining the short and long-term effects of providing nutrition supplementation during pregnancy, lactation, and early childhood in West Africa (


  • PhD, Nutritional Biology, University of California, Davis, 2014
  • MPH, Epidemiology, George Washington University, 2009
  • BS and BA, Biology and Sociology, The Evergreen State College, 2004

Selected Publications

Click here for: Brietta Oaks’ Bibliography