Our group conducts research to identify the genetic, dietary, and psychosocial determinants of chronic disease and physiological stress (allostatic load) as a framework to explain and alleviate health disparities in racial/ethnic and minority groups, particularly Latinos in the U.S. and Latin America. Our work is done through multiple epidemiological studies as well as community-based programs and population-wide initiatives to promote healthy eating and improve cardiometabolic outcomes.
General areas of interest include:
- Diet quality and type 2 diabetes, obesity, CVD, and related cardiometabolic outcomes
- Ethnic-specific traditional foods, dietary habits, and nutritional intake and how these shape racial/ethnic disparities in cardiometabolic outcomes and chronic disease
- Psychosocial and sociocultural aspects of diet and health (i.e.: acculturation, discrimination, social support), and their use in culturally-tailored lifestyle interventions
- The global nutrition transition; establishing dietary interventions to improve diet quality and prevent diabetes in Latin America
- Effect of variants in genes of glucose- and lipid-metabolism pathways on weight- and metabolic-related outcomes in response to diet interventions; gene-diet interactions
- Community diet and lifestyle interventions and population-based health promotion programs tailored to particular minority populations
We have developed or are currently developing the following new projects:
- Puerto Rico Observational Study of Psychosocial, Environmental, and Chronic disease Trends (PROSPECT) (data sharing available upon request).
- Puerto Rico Assessment of Diet, Lifestyle and Diseases (PRADLAD) Study (data sharing available upon request).
- Food replacement pilot intervention in Puerto Rico to improve diet quality and cardiometabolic markers (with FDI Clinical Research and College of Nutritionists and Dietitians of Puerto Rico)
- Ethnically-tailored dietary intervention to improve diet quality among Latinos in Boston (with South End Community Health Center)
Through multiple pilot funding awards, and a NIH-National Heart Lung and Blood Institute K01 Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity, we analyze data in collaboration with these established studies:
- Hispanic Community Health Study/Study on Latinos
- CPHHD-Boston Puerto Rican Health Study
- Costa Rica Heart Study
- San Juan Overweight Adults Longitudinal Study
Additional collaborations with investigators from multiple institutions in the U.S. and globally further enrich our comprehensive and productive research agenda.