Our patient-centered research program focuses on optimizing the health and functioning of people living with chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity; cardiovascular disease prevention; health disparities and the care of vulnerable populations, both in the US and abroad; and clinical epidemiology with a focus on informing population health management.
The research program is funded by the NIH and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and includes the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) ancillary study focusing on coronary heart disease endpoints and psychosocial determinants of health. This national cohort study of over 30,000 black and white community-dwelling Americans has served as the platform for numerous studies elucidating subpopulations at risk for cardiovascular disease outcomes. It was also the first study to describe racial differences in urinary protein as a risk factor for stroke and heart attack; atrial fibrillation as a risk factor for heart attack; continued racial disparities in the risks of heart attack and especially death at presentation with heart disease; the harms of the Southern diet; and risks conferred by depressive symptoms and stress, among many others.
The division's research also includes several community-based trials that test interventions intended to improve health outcomes in disadvantaged populations such as:
- Project VIVA funded by NIDA, where a partnership of researchers and community members carried out interventions for increasing acceptance of influenza vaccination in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, focusing on hard-to-reach populations (e.g., substance abusers, immigrants, elderly, sex workers, and homeless persons) in East Harlem and the Bronx in New York City. Activities targeted the individual, community organization, and neighborhood levels and included dissemination of information, presentations at meetings, and provision of street-based and door-to-door vaccination during two influenza vaccine seasons.
- Small Changes and Lasting Effects (SCALE), a community based weight loss behavioral RCT, where we evaluated the impact of a small change theory based intervention on achieving weight loss at 12 months in Black and/or Latino adults in Harlem and the South Bronx. The study was funded by NHLBI as part of the ORBIT obesity initiative.