Faculty Come Together to Develop Solutions to Fight Diabetes at “Next Steps” Event

April 16, 2014

This spring the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis partnered with the Center for Diabetes Translation Research (CDTR) on “Next Steps in Public Health: Eliminating Population-Based Disparities in Diabetes and Obesity.” Led by CDTR director and institute scholar Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD, MSEd, Joyce Wood Professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 50 researchers from a variety of disciplines from across Washington University, as well as CDTR members from external institutions, came together for a day of brainstorming and discussion to develop papers that inform real world approaches to prevent racial, ethnic and socio-economic disparities associated with Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

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Debra Haire-Joshu headshot
Joyce Wood Professor, Brown School and School of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Diabetes Translation Research and Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research

Papers from the Next Steps session will be peer-reviewed and published as a series in Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy in 2014-15, and then compiled as a collection. At least 12 papers are currently underway.

These papers will address select research questions identified as having key importance by the 2011 Strategic Plan of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Papers will focus on implementing and testing solutions at the population level (aka T4 research) among populations at risk for diabetes and obesity. Additionally, they will inform science on at least one of four dimensions of disparities including: sociocultural, socio-economic, living and working conditions, and the life course (pregnancy to aging). Papers can be original research, special topic, review or case studies, and will address implications for practice, policy and future research directions.

Response to the collaboration was overwhelmingly positive. One evaluation respondent noted “I truly enjoyed the event, and appreciate the opportunity to meet and now work with new colleagues on manuscripts that I would not otherwise have developed.”

The Next Steps session also helped inspire additional opportunities. Susan B. Racette, PhD, associate professor in the Program in Physical Therapy and Department of Medicine in the School of Medicine, commented, “This was an exciting, engaging and inspiring event. It prompted me to think creatively about ways to strengthen collaborations with colleagues at other institutions. As a result, I submitted a small internal grant proposal to the Program in Physical Therapy Research Division for a multi-institutional project, with the funds allocated primarily for bringing my colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine and Auburn University to St. Louis for a 1.5-day brainstorming meeting to plan manuscript and grant submissions. I received notice of award last week. This will advance our school-based work and expand the scope to other cities, states and ethnic groups.”

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Professor, Program in Physical Therapy, School of Medicine

This effort marks the first in a series of “Next Steps” events that the institute will organize around critical public health issues. While subsequent events will focus on other topics and bring together different faculty, all of the events will focus on inspiring innovative ideas and encouraging new collaborations, and will always produce some kind of product (report, paper or other outcome) that aims to make an impact.

If you are a Washington University faculty member and have an idea for a “Next Steps” event to collaborate across campus on a public health topic, please contact Associate Director Victoria Anwuri (vanwuri@wustl.edu) with your idea. All Next Steps should will produce a product that benefits the field, such as a white paper, set of recommendations, priorities statement, grant submission proposal, etc.

Washington University Participants

Wendy Auslander, PhD, Brown School
Derek Brown, PhD, Brown School
Ross C. Brownson, PhD, Brown School
Kathleen Bucholz, PhD, School of Medicine
Elizabeth Budd, MPH, Brown School
Charlene Caburnay, PhD, Brown School
Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, School of Medicine
Alexis Duncan, PhD, Brown School,
Amy Eyler, PhD, Brown School
Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD, MSEd, Center for Diabetes Translation Research, Brown School and School of Medicine
Jenine Harris, PhD, Brown School
Cynthia Herrick, MD, School of Medicine
J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, Brown School
Darrell Hudson, PhD, Brown School
Matthew Kreuter, PhD, Brown School
Rebecca Lobb, ScD, School of Medicine
Timothy McBride, PhD, Brown School
Amy McQueen, PhD, School of Medicine
Molly W. Metzger, PhD, Brown School
Sarah Moreland Russell, PhD, Brown School
Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, Brown School
Ginger E. Nicol, MD, School of Medicine
Lisa Pollack, PhD Candidate, Brown School
Enola K. Proctor, PhD, Brown School
Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, Brown School
Susan B. Racette, PhD, School of Medicine
Dominic N. Reeds, MD, School of Medicine
Vetta Sanders Thompson, PhD, Brown School
Jennifer Sprague, MD, PhD, School of Medicine
Richard I. Stein, PhD, School of Medicine
Susan Stepleton, PhD, Brown School
Jaime Strickland, MA, School of Medicine
Rachel Tabak, PhD, Brown School
Neil H. White, MD, CDE, School of Medicine

External Participants

Eddie Brown, PhD, Arizona State University
Michelle Johnson-Jennings, PhD, University of Minnesota
Tennille Marley, PhD, Arizona State University
Ka’imi Sinclair, PhD, University of Washington
Malia Villegas, PhD, National Congress of American Indians