This K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award proposal is designed to provide the scholarly training, mentorship, and resources necessary for the candidate to develop expertise in bio-behavioral research. The candidate's primary career goal is to become a funded independent investigator and recognized leader in the field of obesity prevention/treatment with expertise in developing personalized bio-behavioral weight loss interventions for African American (AA) women. To achieve this goal, a focused career development plan is proposed to: 1) Obtain knowledge and skills in understanding how genetic variants may be related to adiposity;modulate influence of lifestyle behaviors (i.e.PA, diet) upon changes in adiposity, and how these genotypes may eventually be used to help personalize behavioral interventions for obese AA women;2) Obtain knowledge and skills in complex quantitative research methods, including bio-behavioral research designs and analyses, and advanced intervention development;and, 3) Enhance grant and scholarly writing skills, and manuscript production while continuing to build interdisciplinary collaboration with other researchers in the field of genetics, obesity and prevention research. The Medical University of South Carolina provides a comprehensive training environment that includes senior scientists with expertise in bio-behavioral interventions, genetics, and health disparities research. The candidate has a strong inter-professional and inter-institutional mentoring team with complementary expertise in the development of community based randomized controlled trials (RCT), genetics, obesity prevention and treatment, bio-behavioral interventions, biostatistics and epidemiology. The research plan, which builds on the training objectives, is directly responsive to the National Institute of Nursing Research's (NINR) mission of integrating the biological and behavioral sciences, employing new technologies to research questions, improving research methods, and developing the scientists of the future. The broad goal of this research is to identify key components for development of efficacious socio-culturally tailored behavioral interventions for long-term weight loss in low socioeconomic status (SES) obese AA women. The socio-cultural preferences will be incorporated into behavioral change strategies, the communication of genetic information, and the adaptation of the format and delivery of the evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Program materials and approaches to promote weight loss. To meet this goal, the candidate will conduct an exploratory study using genetic database secondary data analyses. Secondly, an intervention development phase, with 80 obese AA women living in public housing neighborhoods in the Charleston, SC region, to integrate new knowledge and skills from genetics while advancing skills in bio- behavioral research intervention development and methodology. The results of the proposed preliminary studies will inform a larger, adequately powered and resourced community based RCT for obese AA women that incorporates the use of genetic information and socio-cultural preferences to prescribe tailored weight loss strategies and promote long-term weight loss outcomes.
This innovative research plan addresses the need to integrate genetics, socio-environmental, and behavioral factors into promising multi-level community based interventions for disparate minority communities. Demonstrating that genetic and social-environmental components are important in designing and delivering obesity interventions is crucial. Further, gaining better understanding of predictors of obesity and obesity promoting behaviors in AA women could lead to changes in the selection and personalization of treatment approaches for obese AA women, and ultimately, improved outcomes for this population.