Susan B. Racette, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Physical Therapy, School of Medicine
Dr. Racette’s academic and professional interests encompass obesity, energy metabolism, and lifestyle interventions to reduce adiposity, improve cardiorespiratory fitness, and reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Her clinical research focuses on dietary and exercise interventions for health promotion and disease prevention, with a major focus on the prevention or management of overweight, obesity, and their associated cardiovascular disease risks. Specific areas of current and previously funded research relevant to public health include:
1) lifestyle interventions to prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes in obese African Americans;
2) worksite health promotion programs to identify health risk among employees and to provide education, activities and incentives for improving health status;
3) calorie restriction as a potential means to slow the aging process;
4) dietary phytosterols as a non-pharmacologic approach to altering cholesterol metabolism and improving plasma lipid concentrations; and
5) longitudinal assessment of weight status and health behaviors among college students.
Dr. Racette’s teaching responsibilities include nutrition for general health and exercise performance; malnutrition; overweight and obesity; body composition; energy metabolism; and worksite interventions to improve employee health.
What opportunities do you see for interdisciplinary collaboration on public health initiatives in the future?
“Public health initiatives to prevent and reverse obesity (my area of interest) will be strengthened by collaboration among a variety of health professionals, including epidemiologists, nutritionists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, pediatricians, cardiologists, statisticians, and health economists with collective expertise in designing, conducting and evaluating intervention programs. Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for conducting well-designed and carefully executed public health research, but is particularly important for engaging the participation of populations with health disparities. Furthermore, interdisciplinary collaboration within the Institute for Public Health can facilitate access to settings such as schools and worksites so that programs can be implemented to promote healthier lifestyle behaviors among larger groups of individuals, with the intention of improving health status in a relatively efficient and cost-effective manner.”