Dr. H. David Chae, Sc.D., M.A., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. He has an established history of conducting research on social and psychological determinants of health in racial minority populations. He has consistently applied his expertise and diverse academic training, in psychology, sociology, and public health, to examine factors associated with racial minority status and health. More specifically, his research has focused on racial discrimination and dimensions of racial identity i relation to mental health, health behaviors, as well as physical disease outcomes associated with aging among racial minority populations. The scope of Dr. Chae's work on psychosocial factors associated with racial minority health would be considerably enriched through additional training aimed at gaining a broad foundation of knowledge on psychobiological stress pathways, and more in-depth knowledge on telomere maintenance and function. Acquiring this solid background would allow him to conduct epidemiologic studies integrating biomarkers of inflammation and endocrine stress markers, in addition to research examining leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a novel marker of cumulative life stress and systemic aging at the physiologic level. Examining LTL may be particularly informative in studying the impact of racial minority stress which is experienced across the life- course. These activities are complemented by additional training in advanced biostatistical modeling (latent variable analysis), which add to his existing skills in the use of traditional epidemiologic methods. Latent class/profile analysis (LCA/LPA) will be used to empirically derive groups of participants distinguished along physiologic indicators of stress, and explicitly applies the knowledge gained in psychobiological stress mechanisms. Structural equation modeling (SEM) will be used to model hypothesized pathways linking racial discrimination and LTL. Additional career development activities emphasized in this application include training in the responsible conduct of research and continued professional development, through presentations at scientific conferences, the publication of manuscripts, and the development and submission of an R01 application that builds upon the knowledge that he gains, as well as findings from the proposed research. These activities are facilitated through a combination of mentorship by experts, didactic coursework, workshops, attendance of scientific conferences, and a directed program of reading. The training and development plan includes introductory courses in aging, stress biology, psychoneuroimmunology, and behavioral endocrinology;workshops and conferences specifically relevant to psychobiological pathways associated with aging and telomere maintenance and function;courses and workshops on latent variable analysis and statistical programming;as well as those focused on research ethics and grant writing. Integrating this substantive and methodological knowledge into his existing work represents an important step towards developing a trans- disciplinary research portfolio that spans the social and basic sciences;and his career goal to lead collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams including those with expertise in diverse fields, including epidemiology, sociology, psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology in studying racial disparities in aging. Each of the training and development activities included in this application are applied towards the research plan, which involves examining data from three studies - the Heart and Soul Study (HSS);the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA);and the Bay Area Heart Health Study (BAHHS). Analysis of these three datasets is aimed at: (1) identifying inflammatory markers and endocrine markers of stress that cluster with LTL and subsequently predict aging-related health outcomes, thereby providing evidence for biological mechanisms impacting LTL and disease processes;(2) examining whether racial discrimination is associated with LTL, and identifying psychological and biological factors that may be on the pathway linking this exposure and outcome;and (3) exploring other psychosocial factors associated with racial minority status, such as affective and cognitive responses to racial discrimination, coping, racial identity, in-group racial bias, and racial socialization, which may also impact LTL and aging-related disease outcomes. Each aspect of the training component of this application is applied in innovative ways to the research plan;and together they represent a holistic approach to studying factors and pathways associated with aging-related disease outcomes. Emory University serves as an ideal base to achieve the career development and research objectives outlined in this application, given its history of excellence in both the social and biological sciences, and emphasis on inter-disciplinary educational programs. Emory University commits substantial institutional investment, including financial and intellectual resources to ensure the success of this application and progress towards becoming an independent investigator. A specific objective of this application is to submit an R01 grant focused on identifying risk factors associated with LTL among racial minority groups, by applying the broad knowledge on the psychobiology of aging and training in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of LTL data;and the research findings obtained from this application. Through this award, Dr. Chae will be well- positioned to achieve his goal of developing a research agenda that bridges social epidemiology, psychology, and biology in understanding racial disparities in aging-related diseases.

Public Health Relevance

Studies consistently indicate that African American men experience premature declines in health and have higher rates of early mortality compared to other racial and gender groups, and that these disparities can in part be explained by the disproportionate experience of psychosocial stressors, including experiences of racial discrimination. However, there are gaps in knowledge on the biological mechanisms engaged in the stress response which can help to understand how psychosocial stressors are physiologically embedded and generate racial disparities in health. This application is relevant to the science of how race-specific social stressors accelerate physiologic deterioration at the biological level, measured using leukocyte telomere length, a novel marker of cumulative life stress;and contributes to understanding the sources of racial disparities in aging-related disease outcomes.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
5K01AG041787-02
Application #
8548219
Study Section
Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee (NIA)
Program Officer
Nielsen, Lisbeth
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Emory University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Public Health
DUNS #
066469933
City
Atlanta
State
GA
Country
United States
Zip Code
30322
Brody, Gene H; Lei, Man-Kit; Chae, David H et al. (2014) Perceived discrimination among African American adolescents and allostatic load: a longitudinal analysis with buffering effects. Child Dev 85:989-1002
Chae, David H; Nuru-Jeter, Amani M; Adler, Nancy E et al. (2014) Discrimination, racial bias, and telomere length in African-American men. Am J Prev Med 46:103-11