Posts tagged RWJF
A new program, called Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change, is offering some resources to gain such momentum.
Try out the program’s new FAIR Database, a comprehensive collection of summaries and systematic reviews of what’s worked in racial/ethnic health disparities interventions. It can be searched by health topic (for instance: asthma, diabetes) or by strategy (for instance: pay for performance, nurse-led interventions).
You can also join the program on Twitter by following @FndgAnswers and receive tips, tools, and updates on the latest developments in disparities research.
The program also offers a six-step framework to help people and organizations reduce disparities and improve health care quality.
The honorees, recognized at a ceremony in Princeton, N.J., were chosen because they offer great promise for leading the way to improved health and health care for all Americans. Each individual, who is 40 years or younger, received $40,000.
Dr. Carmen A. Peralta, an assistant professor in residence at the University of California, San Francisco, is one of the Young Leaders. She studies ways to reliably and accurately detect early kidney disease, when treatment could help prevent irreversible damage, with a focus on African Americans and Hispanics and their higher rates of end-stage kidney disease.
To understand Peralta’s work, it’s good to know some kidney basics. Healthy kidneys remove waste products and excess water from blood, secreting both as urine. Creatinine, produced through muscle metabolism, is one of those chemical wastes. African Americans as a group were long thought to have elevated amounts of creatinine naturally.
But early on, Peralta doubted that race would so uniformly or precisely define creatinine levels. She theorized that early kidney problems among African Americans were being overlooked because doctors discounted their higher readings—a possible sign of impaired kidney function—as racially specific. By examining the urine of large groups of young Blacks and Whites through 24-hour collections, Peralta showed that many cases of kidney disease were being missed because of that false assumption about creatinine levels.
She was determined to learn how to better detect those cases early on. In addition to studying creatinine in urine, she measured other markers for kidney disease like blood cystatin C and urine protein. Her “triple marker” approach, tested on approximately 29,000 people, improved the identification of those at risk for developing end-stage kidney disease.
Because her findings were so strong, the future international guidelines for Detection and Diagnosis of Kidney Disease will recommend utilizing her approach in cases where a patient’s kidney disease status is unclear.
Peralta now intends to help shift research on kidney disease from detection to prevention.
“We have challenged the current belief that race differences are only seen in advanced chronic kidney disease,” she said. “We showed that race differences in kidney function loss appear very early and that they are not explained by traditional risk factors.”
For more information and the full list of Young Leader Award winners, go here.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series that will highlight work of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in Latino communities.
SaludToday Guest Blogger: Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
President and CEO, RWJF
RWJF and the Trust for America’s Health recently released our annual report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.
Obesity rates in the United States remain unacceptably high, and the epidemic persists in affecting Blacks and Hispanics disproportionately. For the first time, this year’s report examined how the obesity epidemic could impact our future 20 years from now. Ironically, this forecast has made me reflect on the past.
Thirty years ago, I lived in Philadelphia and was an instructor at Temple University. After a long day teaching, I remember heading home with my daughter, who was a preschooler at the time. My office looked down North Broad Street, which ran through some of the worst urban blight of any American city in the past several decades. We wanted to pick up a few items for dinner, but couldn’t find a grocery store or supermarket with the fresh fruit, produce and other healthy foods we were accustomed to eating. About 20,000 people—mostly poor, mostly African-American and Hispanic—lived in that neighborhood and had to cope with this type of disadvantage on a daily basis. What I didn’t know then was that Philadelphia was a microcosm of how policies and environments affect diets, obesity, and health.
At that time, obesity was not on the radar as a major public health concern, and state obesity rates looked tame compared with what we see today. In 1995, Mississippi had an adult obesity rate of 19.4 percent, and Colorado had the lowest rate, 13.9 percent. According to the latest data, Colorado still has the lowest rate, but it has climbed to 20.7 percent. I don’t think we could have imagined it in 1995, but the lowest rate today is higher than the highest rate back then. That’s why it’s so important for us to look ahead to 2030 and try to chart a better course.
The new analysis in this year’s report shows that if obesity rates continue on their current trajectory, it’s estimated that by 2030 adult obesity rates could reach or exceed 44 percent in every state—and could exceed 60 percent in 13 states. If so, new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could skyrocket. Obesity-related health care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.
On the other hand, the analysis also shows that if the average adult body mass index (BMI) was decreased by only 5 percent in each state, we could spare millions of Americans from serious health problems and save billions of dollars in health care spending—between 6.5 percent and 7.8 percent in costs in almost every state. By 2030, this could equate to savings ranging from $1.1 billion in Wyoming to $81.7 billion in California.
We have made important progress toward preventing and reducing obesity around the country, especially among children. For instance, California, Mississippi and New York City are beginning to show decreases in overall rates of childhood obesity. The trends in those areas also have shown us that children who face the biggest obstacles to healthy choices and are at greatest risk for obesity do not always benefit when progress is made. I saw the evidence of this first hand when I lived in Philadelphia. That’s why a study released this fall tells the best story of all.
New data show Philadelphia has reduced its obesity rates in ways that also helped to close the disparities gap. While the city achieved an overall decline in obesity rates among public school students, the largest improvements came among Black male and Hispanic female students. For Black males, rates declined nearly 8 percent; rates for Hispanic females dropped 7 percent.
Although the decrease in childhood obesity rates in Philadelphia is a recent development, community-wide efforts started there more than a decade ago. We need to learn from the City of Brotherly Love and spread the actions and policies that work so all children can enjoy the benefits of better health.
I am now a grand mother and want my grandkids, and their entire generation, to be healthy. If we take effective action, many Americans could be spared from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems, and the savings in health care costs and increased productivity would have a real and positive impact on the economy. Investing in prevention today means a healthier, more productive and brighter future for our country.
- Researchers be Policy Change Agents? (Pg 1)
- Latinos Take a “No-Soda Challenge? (Pg 3)
- Parents Communicate Better w/Kids? (Pg 5)
- Latinos Face Unhealthy Marketing? (Pg 6)
Find out in the Salud America! E-newsletter.
Also find lots more news, research and funding inside the E-newsletter, and discover the preliminary research results of several Salud America! grantees working in Latino clinics, communities, and schools.
Salud America! is funded by RWJF and directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, which developed SaludToday.
To sign up to receive Salud America! E-newsletters, go here.
Is the “modern neighborhood” a root cause of the U.S. obesity epidemic?
Check out this new video featuring Dr. James Sallis, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, who works to change how U.S. residential areas are designed and constructed by emphasizing pedestrian access and public parks and de-emphasizing the need for cars for everyday life.
Sallis also directs Active Living Research, a granting program for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that supports studies to prevent childhood obesity and promote active communities.
Parks, trails, and recreational facilities provide a wide variety of opportunities for physical activity and can help many Americans lead a more active lifestyle.
A new infographic from Active Living Research, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program, highlights evidence that parks and recreation areas can increase physical activity levels while also providing economic benefits to families and communities.
The infographic also shows that 81% of Hispanic communities lack access to recreational facilities.
Sandra San Miguel de Majors, a research instructor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the Health Science Center at San Antonio, touted the use of community health workers—called promotores—to improve people’s health at the Latina Health Policy Briefing for Promotores de Salud on Sept. 26, 2012, at the White House in Washington, D.C.
The policy briefing, organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the affordable care act, united key Latino health care providers, researchers, stakeholders and promotores to discuss successful evidenced-based Latino research initiatives utilizing promotores.
The briefing featured Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary.
San Miguel participated in a panel featuring promotora research and outreach successes. Representing IHPR director Dr. Amelie Ramirez and IHPR researcher Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, San Miguel gave an overview on IHPR’s obesity research projects:
- Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national network of researchers, community leaders, policymakers, and others who are working together to seek environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity.
- Enlace is testing the effectiveness of a culturally appropriate, theory-based intervention to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity among impoverished Latinas in South Texas.
- The SaludToday social media campaign is stimulating an ongoing discussion among Latino families, community leaders, health researchers and others interested in improving the health of U.S. Latinos.
“We are discovering through our research efforts that promotores play a major role in effectively changing our Latino community perspective toward health and physical activity,” San Miguel said. “In addition to helping to navigate the community and connecting them with the appropriate social support resources, promotores are acting as behavioral change agents.”
Also represented on the promotora panel were the Health Disparities Department at the American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Julie Chavez Rodrigues, associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and granddaughter of the late Latino rights activist César Chavez, made closing remarks.
“It was an honor for me to represent the IHPR and our team of IHPR promotores, whose passion and dedication enables us to implement successful evidenced based and community based participatory research programs within our Latino communities at a local and national level,” San Miguel said. “It was a wonderful experience; I was humbled to be in such distinguished company.”
That’s why we’re excited to announce that Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children has received a two-year, $2.1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for its ongoing pursuit of policy and environmental solutions to the epidemic of Latino childhood obesity across the nation.
Salud America! will expand its 2,000-member network and develop an innovative system to support, inform, and empower advocates to prevent Latino childhood obesity.
This Web-based advocacy support system will unite science and multimedia experts to produce a continuous stream of evidence-based news, research, training, and education on Latino childhood obesity to empower researchers, policymakers, and the public to advocate for policy change.
Please join the network here.
“In the midst of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we’re extremely pleased that RWJF is supporting our unprecedented venture that we believe will create and inspire a cadre of advocates to spark policy changes that improve the health of Latino families,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, director of Salud America!, headquartered at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Salud America! was launched in 2007 to build the research base needed in order to address these challenges and reverse the obesity epidemic among Latino children and adolescents.
In its first five years, Salud America! supported new studies and research briefs from 20 different researchers. It also has fueled its online network with e-communications; the first Latino research priority agenda; a video on Latino childhood obesity; and research briefs examining Latino youth nutrition and physical activity, as well as Latino-targeted food and beverage marketing.
Now over the next two years, Salud America! plans to:
- expand its national brand as an information resource on Latino childhood obesity;
- add new members and advocates to its network;
- develop an online advocacy platform specific to the needs and concerns of advocates working to prevent Latino childhood obesity;
- develop a scientific research expert team to interpret and build evidence, and identify relevant content and calls to action;
- produce dynamic multimedia products to feed the network and advocacy platform; and
- monitor and evaluate the impact of these activities.
Salud America!’s innovative, online advocacy support platform will empower Latino advocates, providers, and other stakeholders with both nationally and locally relevant content.
Read more here.