The Center’s largest ever research grant will fund the promotion and study of cardiovascular health among pregnant women and infants
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The largest research grant received by Cal Poly’s Center for Health Research — $5.6 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding — will promote and study cardiovascular health among pregnant women and infants.
The grant is part of a seven-year, multiphase research project involving more than 500 participants in California and Rhode Island enrolled in programs with home health visiting services, such as the nonprofit Healthy Families for America, which annually conducts over 1 million home visits. from nearly 600 program sites in 38 states, the District of Columbia, five US territories and Israel.
The grant is part of NIH’s Early Intervention to Promote Maternal and Child Cardiovascular Health (ENRICH) program, to promote heart health and address health disparities in low-income mothers and their infants living in communities with low resources through the first six babies. month.
While some specifics of the program have yet to be implemented, home visits will assist clients with health care and social service needs.
About 60% of the participants in the Cal Poly grant study will be Hispanic women in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Fresno counties.
“It’s really trying to promote long-term heart health in families that have historically been underserved, underrepresented and underresourced in our region,” said Suzanne Phelan, director of the Center for Health Research and a Cal professor. Poly of Kinesiology and Public Health. . Phelan is the principal investigator leading the research effort.
The research will include program development, implementation and evaluation of a new program designed to promote cardiac health in women and children. In collaboration with local home visiting partners, the program aims to reduce such risk factors for heart disease as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, poor diet, stress and poor sleep.
Cal Poly student researchers will track the effects on participants.
“The population we’re working with tends to be younger mothers, and we’re trying to promote their health years before they’re likely to have cardiovascular disease,” she said. “Weight reduction and waist circumference reduction reduce the risk of disease for mothers after childbirth. The intervention helps babies during pregnancy to try to prevent them from developing the disease later as well.”
Cal Poly students and faculty studying statistics and world languages and cultures are collaborating with counterparts at Brown University, a private research institution in Providence, Rhode Island, and other centers and home visiting programs to develop and evaluate how participants respond.
Work on the new study has begun. After the current two-year, $1.3 million planning phase, NIH officials will review progress on approving the remaining $4.3 million to study the effects of the intervention over the final five years of the grant.
Phelan estimates 35 students will be heavily involved over the seven-year duration — about five a year.
The competitive grant is one of seven awarded through the NIH’s ENRICH program, with similar grants also awarded to separate research teams in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Missouri, Colorado and Illinois.
The research awarded to Phelan’s team will take place in California and Rhode Island and will include 550 women (275 from each state).
The heart health program, expected to include an app, will complement the work of health advocates who make home visits, with the goal of measurable weight loss and other beneficial outcomes within the first 12 to 18 months. Free cell phones will be made available to participants who do not have a device.
The research team hopes to develop and implement strategies around healthy eating, activity, obesity prevention, and other cardiovascular health behaviors.
The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential Eight” The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential Eight” considers the following measures to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other major health problems: diet; Physical activity; exposure to nicotine; sleep duration; weight; cholesterol; blood sugar; and blood pressure.
About the Cal Poly Center for Health Research
The center facilitates multidisciplinary research in the prevention and treatment of obesity and related chronic diseases. Research ranges from cellular to social ecological, with a mission to promote health equity and lead to improved quality of life. The center has received more than $26 million in research grants, including studies related to breast cancer, maternal health, weight management, sexual and reproductive health, and infant nutrition. Visit health research.calpoly.edu.
August 24, 2022
Contact: Nick Wilson