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$3.5 Million for the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network
December 18, 2007, Volume 54, No. 16

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN) a five-year, $3.5 million research grant to generate and conduct community-partnered research to reduce obesity in African American children and adolescents.

“Despite the fact that African American children have some of the highest rates of obesity there is not sufficient research to identify causes and effective interventions specific to African American communities,” said Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika, AACORN’s founder, principal investigator and a professor of epidemiology at Penn Medicine. “With this grant, AACORN will continue to expand obesity research to incorporate African American community perspectives and increase the potential sustainability of interventions.”

AACORN is based at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and is linked to the Penn-Cheyney Center of Excellence for Inner City Health which is funded by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the Project EXPORT Program.

Founded in 2002, AACORN’s mission is to improve the quality, quantity and effective translation of research to address weight-related issues in African American communities. This national network brings together a core of 36 established academic researchers, scholars-in-training and community research partners to share their knowledge of obesity and related health issues affecting African-American communities. “One of AACORN’s major aims is to influence how research related to obesity is conducted. The how includes who is framing the research, how it is conducted and how data are interpreted and used to benefit the community,” said Dr. Kumanyika.

AACORN’s research will focus on developing community action strategies to facilitate obesity prevention in African American children and adolescents. Dr. Sonya Grier, an AACORN affiliate and associate professor of marketing at the Kogod School of Business at American University will serve as co-investigator for the research study.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves, to help Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need.

For information see www.aacorn.org, www.rwjf.org and www.med.upenn.edu.

Almanac - December 18, 2007, Volume 54, No. 16