The overall goal for this application for a NHLBI-K01 Faculty Diversity Mentored Career Development Award is to provide the candidate, Josiemer Mattei, PhD, MPH, with indispensable training to become an independent researcher in nutrition and cardio-metabolic disparities in Latinos, through epidemiological and intervention projects. These have been constructed along a comprehensive training program facilitated by a team of expert mentors in nutritional epidemiology, cardiovascular health, and community interventions. Responding to the staggering prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other chronic disease in Latinos living in the United States (US), and to the limited studies on the dietary habits and cultural beliefs that may contribute to those disparities, the research aims are to (1) to identify diet quality indices within Latino ethnic subgroups in the US and to evaluate associations of such indices with traditional and emerging CVD risk factors within ethnicity, (2) to contrast diet quality of Puerto Ricans in the mainland US versus the island, and assess how it is associated with long-term cardio-metabolic factors;and (3) to assess deep-cultural factors (core beliefs and influences) related to diet and disease and determine efficacy of a pilot intervention based on such components for Latino subgroups on improving diet quality. Analyses for the first two aims will be conducted using data from the national Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study, and the San Juan Obese Adult Longitudinal Study in Puerto Rico. Latino multiethnic adults will be recruited for the mixed-methods formative and pilot studies to be conducted at the South End Community Health Center in Boston, MA. To match the scope of the proposed scientific work, this proposal includes five career-development and training areas: (1) research expertise through the proposed aims, (2) coursework in advanced epidemiological methods, and behavioral and community intervention methods, (3) multiple career-building activities to acquire essential tools for leadership and professional growth, as well as dissemination and translation of findings, (4) continued mentoring and monitoring by an outstanding team of senior mentors and an advisory committee;and (5) a detailed plan to expand grant support and collaborations with various national institutions. This K01 project will compellingly impact public health by bridging the gap in knowledge of traditional diet quality of specific Latino groups and how these may shape racial and ethnic disparities in CVD risk factors. The work will provide preliminary data to support longitudinal studies on diet and disease, and full-scale community trials on improving diet quality to reduce disease burden among Latinos. The project builds upon exceptional resources and mentoring at the candidate's institution (Harvard School of Public Health) and partnering organizations, to train her in key new areas, bolster applications for competitive funding, disseminate findings among researchers and the wider community, augment faculty diversity, and attain research independence.
Latinos, the largest minority group in the United States, have an extremely high prevalence of cardio-metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Nutritional strategies could help lower that burden, yet few data exist on the quality of the traditional diets of specific Latino subgroups in the US and their effect on risk of cardio-metabolic diseases, or on which cultural aspects of diet and disease may enhance community- based dietary interventions for Latinos. This proposal aims to bridge that gap by utilizing existing US Latino cohorts with robust data on diet and CVD risk factors to examine ethnic-specific association of diet quality with cardio-metabolic risk factors, and then apply those observational results into a pilot intervention culturally tailored for Latino ethnic subgroups to improve their diet quality.