Project Overview

Multidisciplinary Academic-Community Symposium Series to Build an Obesity Disparities Research Infrastructure and Agenda

Principal Investigators: Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker, Dr. Daniel Wilson, Dr. David Janicke, & Dr. David Wood

Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Stephen Anton, Dr. Ronald Cohen, Dr. Kenneth Cusi, Dr. Sunita Dodani, Dr. Mark Gold, Dr. Kenyatta Lee, Dr. Anne Mathews, Dr. Neil Rowland, & Dr. Eric Stewart

Recent health data for Florida show that compared to White Americans, African Americans and Hispanics have higher rates of overweight/obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Community engagement and empowerment are recognized worldwide as needed to reduce health disparities. As the principles of community-engaged research require that researchers and community members learn from each other through bi-directional communication, efforts to eliminate obesity disparities must involve multi-directional communication among culturally diverse patients and their families, providers, researchers, and community stakeholders.

The project titled Multidisciplinary Academic-Community Symposium Series to Build an Obesity Disparities Research Infrastructure and Agenda involves organizing and planning a symposium series that includes such multi-directional communication and that will serve as a venue for creating both a research agenda and a multidisciplinary infrastructure for conducting PCORI-fundable, culturally sensitive, patient-centered outcomes research aimed at eliminating obesity disparities among culturally diverse patients.

Patients invited to attend the symposium series will be chronic care adult patients and child patients who are obese and receive health care at any of five patient-centered medical home (PCMH) clinics (target clinics) that are affiliated with UF Health in Jacksonville. These target clinics serve mostly low-income patients (90%) and African American/Black patients (65%), and 47.2% of the patients served are obese. These PCMHs, like other such clinics, report programs that have successfully reduced hemoglobin A1c and other health indicators but have not reported programs that reduce BMI.

The specific goals of the project are to:

  • Create a Multidisciplinary Academic-Community Obesity Disparities Research (MACOD-R) Team to plan and conduct an obesity disparities symposium series to hear the voices of culturally diverse patients (and their family) who utilize the target clinics, of culturally diverse providers and obesity researchers, and of community stakeholders regarding (a) the causes of obesity disparities; (b) health care changes needed to eliminate obesity disparities; and (c) individual, family, and community interventions needed to eliminate obesity disparities;
  • Use the symposium series as a venue for identifying additional academic and community research partners to join the MACOD-R Team, and then organize this expanded team to function as a sustained UF dual-site (Gainesville, Jacksonville) research partnership and infrastructure that combines and leverages research and clinical expertise and population access at both sites; and
  • Create a short-term Multidisciplinary Academic-Community Research Agenda Planning (MACOD-RAP) Team to (a) synthesize the symposia proceedings into an obesity disparities research agenda that will be published and (b) identify research agenda-informed pilot study and grant proposal topics that the MACOD-R Team will develop at immediate post-project into pilot studies and grant proposals and then submit the grant proposals to PCORI.

The long-term project goal is to establish the UF Center to Eliminate Obesity Disparities among Culturally Diverse Patients.