Four researchers, three from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and one from Louisiana State University (LSU), have been awarded pilot project awards to study the social determinants of obesity and related chronic diseases in the South. The funds, $100,000 per project, are provided by the Mid-South Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research (Mid-South TCC), part of UAB’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC).
The winning investigators and their projects are:
- Andrea Cherrington, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of preventive medicine in the UAB School of Medicine, for her project “Assessing Social Determinants of Obesity for Latino Immigrants in an Emerging Community”
- Amanda Willig, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases in the UAB School of Medicine, for her project “Behavioral and Social Factors Impact Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Obesity in HIV-infected Women”
- Douglas Moellering, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition sciences in the UAB School of Health Professions, for his project “Adverse Effects of Life Stress on Obesity and Disease Risk Are Mediated by Diet Quality and Oxidative Stress”
- James Hempe, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at LSU, for his project “Metabolic Determinants of Racial Disparity in Hemoglobin Glycation”
The Mid-South TCC, one of only two such regional centers in the nation, is a collaborative effort by UAB, LSU, Jackson State University, Dillard University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center focused on six Mid-South states: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. These areas include some of the most impoverished rural counties and inner-city communities in the nation, carrying an exceptionally high burden of obesity, chronic diseases and high mortality rates from these conditions. The Center’s members investigate social determinants that drive and sustain health disparities in obesity and chronic diseases across the human lifespan and develop interventions to relieve such disparities.