EMPOWER Nutrition Intervention for Obesity Associated Comorbidity Reduction at Local, Underserved, Minority communities

1/19/2022 5:09:01 AM

Champaign County Christian Health Center LogoAcademic mentor: Manabu Nakamura

Community partner: Champaign County Christian Health Center

Project description: 
Our group of nutrition scientists, social workers, and medical practitioners have created an online weight loss program called EMPOWER. EMPOWER aims to deliver an effective, community-based program to low-income, underserved patients resulting in significant weight loss and improvements in health parameters. The program incorporates nutrition, lifestyle, and behavioral education and coaching into a virtual format that is sustainable and readily accessible.

Our group has been developing collaborations with community organizers to bring the EMPOWER weight loss program to local underserved communities. Our objective for this project is in collaboration with Champaign County Christian Health Center (CCCHC) to 1) assess health disparities of their patients that can be alleviated by the EMPOWER program, and 2) develop a plan to overcome logistic hurdles to start intervention. CCCHC is a free clinic providing care to individuals with minimal or no insurance. The long-term goal is to provide patients of CCCHC with the opportunity to participate in EMPOWER. 

The expected outcome of this project is a complete data assessment on CCCHC patient demographics, health parameters, and resource accessibility. The data assessment will be used to create a plan for the clinical trial of EMPOWER at CCCHC. The proposal will have a positive impact on all the parties involved: The intern will have an experiential learning working with a community organization to combat health inequity, the EMPOWER group will advance their agenda to reach underserved communities, and CCCHC will be able to advance their service offerings. Most of all, this line of work will improve the health of CCCHC patients who experience health inequity.    

Role of the Community-Academic Scholar:
The Community-Academic Scholar will be responsible for working with the community partner to analyze the data collected by CCCHC, including patient demographics, prevalence of obesity-related comorbidities, and other health measures and compiling data into practical formats for decision-making and presentation. To analyze the data, the scholar will act as a liaison between the EMPOWER lab and administrators of CCCHC, participating in both online and in-person meetings and presenting information between parties. The scholar may also be asked to volunteer at CCCHC with the resident dietitian to further understand the dynamics of the clinic and their specific patient needs. This will allow the scholar to work with the team to develop a plan for implementing EMPOWER tailored to meet the need of CCCHC clients.