Where We've Been
We’ve led several longitudinal cohort and qualitative studies over the past decade that identified behavioral, social-contextual, and structural predictors of peripartum weight change and cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors (e.g., short sleep duration, depression, physical inactivity, food insecurity) – predictors that serve as important targets for intervention.
- simple, empirically-supported behavior change goals that directly/indirectly modify energy balance, tailored to our target population of Black and Latina mothers
- mobile technologies that incorporate interactive self-monitoring text messages, social media, and video testimonials
- health coaching by staff trained in behavioral weight control strategies
This approach has demonstrated efficacy in several studies for reducing body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors (see publications).
Where We’re Headed
There is a clear and compelling opportunity to strategically intervene on CVD risk factors using a social-ecological approach.
Treatment options to date, including our own previous research, have led to incremental improvements but have not yet translated to optimal perinatal cardiovascular health for Black women. The complex context of Black birthing people demands comprehensive strategies that address root causes of racial disparities and systematically intervene at multiple levels of CVD risk, but major treatment gaps exist.
- Have been directly informed by the lived experience and expertise of Black women
- Seek to address and repair the harms from structural and interpersonal racism
- Include intervention targets such as chronic stress, trauma, and depression along with diet and physical activity that have the potential to produce more marked and sustained blood pressure and weight effects
- Provide support in pregnancy through the end of the first postpartum year—the full duration of increased CVD risk
- PMHE’s individual-level, perinatal obesity treatment approach
- Maternal Wellness Village’s triadic interpersonal support for Black women by Black women (community doula care, mental health services, and lactation consultation)
- Institutional-level interventions to address and repair harms from racism
Our Current and Prior Funded Projects
Philadelphia’s Maternal Wellness Village and Temple have teamed up to study two approaches that treat multiple factors leading to heart disease among Black birthing people. Both approaches address individual behaviors through nutrition and physical activity text messages and home blood pressure self-monitoring as well as provide training to medical care providers in order to reduce patients’ experiences of racism or mistreatment. But only one of the approaches being studied also adds supports for Black women by Black women (community doula care, mental health services, and lactation consultation) during their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in order to learn if these supports lead to lower blood pressure and also treat social isolation, depression, and increase experiences of respectful maternity care.
This proposal aims to optimize early postpartum care for Black birthing people with HDP and create a toolkit of best practices for dissemination among Essential Hospitals.
In this pragmatic trial, we are randomizing 438 Black and Latina, Philadelphia County WIC program participants with obesity in early pregnancy to either standard WIC care or an antenatal obesity treatment arm. As part of this effort, we piloted an antiracism training for WIC nutrition professionals as a means of improving attitudes, awareness, and confidence in identifying and addressing interactions that perpetuate individual, interpersonal and systemic racism.
This project aims evaluate a mHealth-delivered behavioral weight loss intervention in Black WIC-recipients during the first postpartum year.
Our Temple-Maternity Care Coalition proposal, grounded in a reproductive and racial justice framework, aims to prepare and produce a highly qualified workforce of community-based perinatal health workers to improve health for black and brown pregnant women and their families, while providing meaningful careers for mothers in North Philadelphia who face exceedingly high levels of poverty and un/underemployment.
This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of an excessive gestational weight gain prevention intervention as an adjunct to usual obstetric care at Temple in African American women.
This research uses observational epidemiology to examine the influence of postpartum sleep duration on adiposity and cardiometabolic risk factors in urban, low-income mothers.
This study aims to minimize postpartum weight retention among low-income, Black mothers by developing, implementing, and then evaluating a technology-based behavioral intervention.
We are studying whether a healthy lifestyle program, that uses personal health-coaching by WIC staff and text messages, will help mothers improve their eating and activity during pregnancy.
We are looking for Latina or Black moms:
• At least 18 years old
• Own a cell phone with unlimited texting
• Are less than 4 months pregnant
Compensation is provided. Call or text us at 267-772-8966 to learn more.
Change of HEART
This research study is designed to provide Black birthing people with nutrition and heart health education to support a joyful and healthy experience throughout your pregnancy, birth, & first year postpartum!
You may be eligible if:
• Over 18 years of age
• Black or African American
• Less than 7 months pregnant
• Own a mobile phone
Compensation is provided. Call or text us at 484-532-3181 to learn more.
Preventative Medicine Reports
Translational Behavioral Medicine
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Contemporary Clinical Trials
Women’s Health Issues
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Journal of Women’s Health
Maternal & Child Health Journal
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Maternal & Child Health Journal
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Behavioral Sleep Medicine
Journal of Primary Care and Community Health
American Journal of Health Promotion
Journal of Women’s Health
Journal of Public Health Management and Practice
American Journal of Preventative Medicine
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology
Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Current Diabetes Reports
Sleep Medicine Reviews