Inaugural Endowed Professor of Diabetes Prevention and Outcomes Research

Dept. of Medicine
Division of Preventive Medicine

Contact Information:

Office Address: MT 643
Phone: 205-934-6883
Websites:   Div. of Preventive Medicine Faculty Page
                  School of Medicine Faculty Profile


Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 
BA, Biology & German, 1982

Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY 
MD, 1986

Post-Graduate Training:

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 
Internship and Residency, Internal Medicine, 1986-9

Research Interests:

Diabetes health services research
Cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention 
Disparities in care

Research Description:

  • REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke Myocardial Infarction (REGARDS-MI) ancillary study (NHLBI). This R01 examines racial and regional variations in the incidence of acute coronary heart disease in the 30,239 member REGARDS cohort. The sample is 42% black and 58% are women, and cohort members reside in all 48 continental US states.
  • Encourage. This program includes a Peers for Progress funded community based trial with 400 individuals with diabetes living in the Alabama Black Belt. This trial tested the effectiveness of volunteer peer supporters in improving diabetes metabolic parameters, functional status and quality of life. Encourage-2 is an AHRQ-funded community based trial testing the effectiveness of a community health worker delivered cognitive behavior training intervention in improving diabetes outcomes in individuals with both diabetes and chronic joint pain living in the Alabama Black Belt.
  • Collaborations and student experiences. We have had a large number of faculty, fellows, medical students, other graduate students, undergraduates and high school students work with us on both REGARDS and Encourage. These studies provide excellent opportunities for scholarly activity and we welcome interest. Please contact Dr. Safford at


DRC Membership Category:

Senior Scientist