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Deborah L. Feairheller, Ph.D., FACSM, USAW-L1

Deborah L. Feairheller, Ph.D., FACSM, USAW-L1 profile picture
Assistant Professor and HEART Laboratory Director CEHHS Kinesiology

About Dr. Deborah Feairheller

Deborah Feairheller (“Dr. F”) has worked in the clinical health and wellness field for over 25 years and has a passionate interest in chronic disease management through lifestyle changes. Dr. Feairheller is a Professional Member of the American Heart Association, AMSUS the Society of Federal Health Professionals, American Society for Nutrition, National Fire Protection Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. She earned a PhD in Physiology and has certifications as a phlebotomist for her clinical research and as a weightlifting coach through USAW. 

Dr. Feairheller is an integrative physiologist with broad training in translational research. Past research examined racial differences in the endothelial adaptations that occur with exercise and diet interventions, with an emphasis on oxidative stress mechanisms. She has worked in pharmaceutical R & D, regulatory support, and quality assurance. She has experience in patient safety working as a project manager and senior scientific medical writer for an evidence-based non-profit patient safety organization conducting patient-centered outcomes research and health technology assessments on interventions for cardiovascular disorders and obesity. She also has experience as a health and wellness business owner-operator as a certified trainer and performance nutrition specialist conducting diet and exercise interventions, community seminars and private instructions. 

Dr. Feairheller joined the Department of Kinesiology in Fall 2022, moving to Southern California from the University of New Hampshire where she worked as a clinical faculty with responsibility as the Director of the Clinical Cardiac Program (Rehabilitation, Prevention, & Telehealth). In that position she worked to improve the heart health of cardiac patients and community members who have modifiable risk factors through both in person and telehealth remote wellness modules.


Here at CSUSM, Dr. Feairheller directs the Hypertension and Endothelial function with Aerobic and Resistance Training (HEART) lab on campus. She was recently awarded the Certificate of Research Excellence from the American Heart Association (AHA). Through the years, HEART lab research has examined cardiovascular risk in different populations. The most recent research project was funded by the AHA to see how diet and exercise can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the blood pressure surge seen when the 911 alarm sounds in firefighters. Dr. F is a nationally certified firefighter and a technical rescue specialist. Back on the east coast, she served as a volunteer firefighter and rescue technician for the local fire departments. Her research has  validated a new Mediterranean diet score which can be used as a simple method to track adherence. Community-based projects include cardiovascular screening in women, examining age and activity relationships, across race; assessing the relationship between vascular stiffness and blood pressure, across sex and race; and examining dietary habits and barriers to healthy eating in college students. 

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