This quarter, we were delighted to host several coffee chats featuring a variety of speakers and topics, highlighting ways to promote nutrition, physical activity, and health equity through the adoption of evidence-based interventions. We also published some new resources and publications and are excited to share the release of a new podcast led by a Leaders in Health alumnus. Below we highlight some accomplishments within the four key areas in which our Center is focused. Learn more about our Center aims here.
Collaborate with Partners to Identify Evidence-Based Interventions
Coffee Chat Highlights the Importance of School Wellness Policies for Promoting Physical Activity
This is part of our monthly CHOICES Community of Practice coffee chat series, which is for any public health professional whose work focuses on advancing obesity prevention, healthy eating, and active living and want to learn more about how cost-effectiveness analysis can advance their efforts and address health equity.
School wellness policies foster environments that help students learn, grow, and be healthy. In June, the CHOICES Community of Practice hosted a coffee chat featuring Nicole Good, School Wellness Specialist at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Nicole shared how wellness policies can support the implementation of evidence-based physical activity policies and programs. She also provided an overview of wellness policy requirements and highlighted best practices for moving physical activity policies into practice.
Those who joined enjoyed being able to learn more about the role of school wellness policies in promoting physical activity and identifying key partner organizations and data needed to inform their development. As always, it was a great opportunity for folks to connect and learn from each other. Thanks to Nicole for a great presentation and to all who attended!
View the recording of the coffee chat here
Promote Healthy Weight, Nutrition, Physical Activity, & Health Equity
Partner Sharing on Promoting Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Reducing Health Disparities
These events are part of our monthly CHOICES Community of Practice coffee chat series, which is for any public health professional whose work focuses on advancing obesity prevention, healthy eating, and active living and want to learn more about how cost-effectiveness analysis can advance their efforts and address health equity.
The CHOICES Community of Practice also hosted two other coffee chats this quarter, both focused on ways to engage community partners to advance prevention work and promote health equity.
In April, we welcomed a group of guest speakers from the Lowell Community Health Center. The Lowell Community Health Center is a grant recipient for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The team shared how they have engaged partners in developing community-tailored strategies that can promote nutrition and physical activity and reduce disparities through their REACH LoWELL initiative.
In May, we were thrilled to welcome back partners from the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to hear key findings from the second year of their ongoing project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Improving Social Determinants of Health – Getting Further Faster.. Getting Further Faster focuses on assessing the work of multi-sector partnerships and coalitions to address social determinants of health and advance health equity. This was an exciting follow up from our coffee chat with these partners last year!
- May 18, 2023: Improving Social Determinants of Health: Year 2 Getting Further Faster Project Findings
Register to become a member of the CHOICES Community of Practice
Offer Resources & Training Opportunities
New Resources & Publications
We are always working to share new resources, tools, and peer-reviewed publications that align with our Center’s Priority Areas. This quarter, we published the following:
Massachusetts: Movement Breaks in the Classroom
This research brief summarizes a CHOICES Learning Collaborative Partnership model examining a strategy to incorporate movement breaks, five-to-10-minute physical activity breaks during class time, into school classrooms in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts: Water Dispensers in Schools
This research brief summarizes a CHOICES Learning Collaborative Partnership model examining a strategy to improve access to drinking water in schools in Massachusetts. This strategy involves the installation of touchless chilled water dispensers on or near school cafeteria lunch lines in K-8 public schools with adequate plumbing.
New Peer-Reviewed Publications from Faculty, Staff, & Collaborators
Opportunities to Promote Food and Nutrition Security as the Federal Public Health Emergency Ends. (Bleich SN, Fiechtner L, Kenney EL, JAMA Health Forum, April 7, 2023)
Data sharing in the context of community-engaged research partnerships.
(Emmons KM, Mendez S, Lee RM, Erani D, Mascioli L, Abreu M, Adams S, Daly J, Bierer BE; RADx-MA Partners, Social Science & Medicine, May 2023)
How WIC Can Help Enhance Water Security for At-Risk Populations.
(Wilking C, Nink E, Cradock AL. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May 2023)
Safe streets for some: A review of local active transportation responses across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Dean MD, Amaya KA, Hall J, Gupta KM, Panik RT, Gustat J, Cradock AL, Journal of Transport & Health, May 30, 2023)
Perceptions of Water Safety and Tap Water Taste and Their Associations With Beverage Intake Among U.S. Adults.
(Park S, Onufrak SJ, Cradock AL, Patel A, Hecht C, Blanck HM, American Journal of Health Promotion, June 2023)
A South Asian Mediterranean-style diet is associated with favorable adiposity measures and lower diabetes risk: The MASALA cohort.
(Rai SK, Gortmaker SL, Hu FB, Kanaya AM, Kandula NR, Sun Q, Bhupathiraju SN, Obesity (Silver Spring), June 2023)
De-implementing public health policies: a qualitative study of the process of implementing and then removing body mass index (BMI) report cards in Massachusetts public schools.
(Poole MK, Lee RM, Kinderknecht KL, Kenney EL, Implementation Science Communications, June 9, 2023)
Use of Evidence-Based Interventions to Promote Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity in Community Health Improvement Plans from Large Local Health Departments.
(Dupuis R, Reiner JF, Silver S, Barrett JL, Daly JG, Lee RM, Gortmaker SL, Cradock AL, J Public Health Manag Pract, June 20, 2023)
Build Capacity for Conducting Community-Engaged Research
Former Leaders in Health Participant Launches “Aging Well Together” Podcast
Dr. Moses Dixon, who participated in the 2021 cohort of the Leaders in Health program and is the President and CEO of Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging, launched a new podcast in May: Aging Well Together. This podcast will include insight from Dr. Dixon and other renowned thought leaders as they explore topics of affordable living, healthcare, and wellness for seniors. In the first episode, Dr. Dixon sits down with U.S. Representative James McGovern (D-MA) to discuss the new Grandparents Raising Grandkids Resource Center and innovative ways to address issues concerning grand-families. Listen now!
Dr. Dixon is also pursuing a Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery at Harvard Medical School where he is conducting a thesis assessing how well-suited Meals on Wheels program offerings are to the cultural and nutritional needs of older adults from BIPOC communities, an extension of his Leaders in Health project.
The Leaders in Health program strengthens community health initiatives through introductory training in public health research and science. The goal of Leaders in Health is to build the capacity of our community partners by providing participants with an introduction to the fundamentals of community-based participatory research, program planning, and evaluation. Participants attend interactive training sessions, complete assignments, and receive support to create an action plan to enhance their work.
We’re excited to regularly feature Leaders in Health alumni both in our quarterly updates and on the Leaders in Health page to highlight the successes that they accomplished in their cohort and beyond in their daily work.