2019 Health and Resource Fair
The HEALTH Research Institute kicked off the year with a health fair on Jan 26 sponsored by the TOUCH program, in collaboration with Councilwoman Karla Cisneros and the UnitedHealthcare Foundation. The event helped bring together a congregation of dynamic, health-focused vendors from all over the city. HRI looks to build upon the momentum by sharing the resources we offer by participating in health fairs across the city and recruiting for the many research projects we are undertaking.
HEALTH Research Institute and Project TOUCH is spotlighted in the UH Health Magazine
In Houston, two populations seem most at risk for diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 72 percent of African-Americans and 78 percent of Latinos in Houston are overweight or obese, a common precursor to the disease.
Project TOUCH (Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities) was born out of concern over these stats. The program set out to help identify residents of Houston’s Third Ward and East End at risk for chronic diseases and connect them with programs and services to help them maximize their health potential.
Dr. Reitzel and Chisom Odoh are featured in the UH Health Magazine
UHAND co-director Lorraine Reitzel, who chairs the department of psychological, health and learning sciences in the UHCollege of Education, said program participants all are driven to address the troubling disparities in cancer risk, rates and outcomes among racial and ethnic groups. According to the American Cancer Society, the disease is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, and African Americans have the highest death rate for most cancers.
Simulated environment, real results
Generally, people aren’t trained to manage stress in a healthy way. After a hard day of work filled with deadlines, many go home to an alcoholic beverage and an immediate “escape.” But that instant gratification can lead to addiction. By studying the body’s response to stress, Dr. Obasi believes he can develop positive coping interventions.
Mentee Daphne Hernandez speaks about limited access to healthy food in underserved communities
While financial issues can limit access to healthy food, geography plays a role too. More than 23 million Americans live in “food deserts”—areas that are more than a mile away from a supermarket. Regardless of socioeconomic status, the typical American diet is poor. Only one in 10 adults eats the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.
Virmarie Correa-Fernández is determined to help Latinos who have anxiety and/or depression quit smoking.
According to national statistics, Latino adults generally have lower prevalence of cigarette smoking than other racial and ethnic groups. However, their main causes of death are smoking-related diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They also experience tobacco-related disparities, including suboptimal assistance with quitting.
Dr. Ezemenari Obasi shares tips for quitting alcohol and the role of counseling on Fox 26
Dr. Obasi discusses treatment options for alcohol abuse that include behavioral therapy, medication, and/or group counseling. Furthermore, he recommends building a support network of family, friends, and/or loved ones to start the healing process.
Partnership Moving into Houston’s East End after Success in Third Ward
Midway through a three-year, $2 million grant from the United Health Foundation, University of Houston’s Project TOUCH (Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities) has impressive numbers to report. Based on its success in Houston’s Third Ward, the effort for preventing and treating obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other ailments will move into Houston’s East End in the fall.Under the direction of professors Ezemenari Obasi and Dan O’Connor, fellows at the UH institute fighting health disparities called UH HEALTH (Helping Everyone Achieve a Life Time of Health) Research Institute, the community collaborative program is reporting:
United Health Foundation, UH Expand Obesity and Diabetes Program
Midway through a three-year, $2 million grant from the United Health Foundation, University of Houston’s Project TOUCH (Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities) has impressive numbers to report. Based on its success in Houston’s Third Ward, the effort for preventing and treating obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other ailments will move into Houston’s East End in the fall.
Nearly Half of Diabetics Skimp on Treatment Due to High Insulin Cost
Almost half of diabetics in America have cut back on treatment at some point due to the price of insulin hitting new heights.
“Its not regulated so, if you don't have a lot of competition for something like insulin that's available for folks, then the price is going to be pretty much jacked up,” says Dr. Ezemenari Obasi, an associate dean of Research at the University of Houston.
According to the American Diabetes Association, between 2002 and 2013 the average price of insulin has nearly tripled.
Dr. Obasi examines health disparities and Project TOUCH on Houston Matters
UH Researcher Examines Health Disparities In Houston
Houston Matters learns about a grant to study health disparities and cultural predictors of health behavior in the African-American community.
Dr. Ezemenari Obasi wears many hats at the University of Houston. He’s associate dean of research at the university’s College of Education. He’s also the founder and director of the HEALTH Research Institute, which examines addictions and health disparities in Houston communities.
Dr. Obasi’s most recent research focuses on obesity and Type 2 diabetes in Houston’s Third Ward. The project is funded by a grant, and it provides obesity and diabetes primary prevention services and intervention programs in the Third Ward and, eventually, East End communities. Dr. Obasi says he’s working on building a permanent framework so there’s support in these communities after the funding runs out.
Houston Matters talks with Dr. Obasi about his research, how he wants to help surrounding Houston communities, and how Hurricane Harvey was both disruptive to his research and also provided an opportunity to collect new data on stress.
Dr. May Appointed By National Science Foundation as Program Director
Elebeoba E. May, associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, received a $215,032 Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) award from the National Science Foundation.
The award supports her year-long appointment at the NSF as a program director of the Systems and Synthetic Biology Cluster within the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division.
As a program director, May will make funding recommendations; influence new directions in the fields of science, engineering and education; and support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research.
HHP Faculty Received William T. Grant Research Award
Their project titled "Can Food Scholarships Reduce Inequality by Improving College Persistence Among Community College Students?" aims to investigate how food scholarships affect low-income community college students’ grades, persistence, and sense of belonging in college and if they have more benefits for Latino and African American students.
Dr. Reitzel Weighs in on Anti-Smoking ads with Texas Medical Center
New anti-smoking advertisements look like nothing consumers have seen before.
The ads display plain black text on a plain white background. There are no images of any kind. A monotone, seemingly robotic voice reads the text, with no vocal inflection and no music in the background.
The West Texas Centers is partnering with "Taking Texas Tobacco Free" (TTTF), which is funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. The TTTF project provides training, technical assistance and treatment resources to mental health authorities across the state in their efforts to become tobacco free.
UHF Gives $2million Grant toTackle Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in the Third Ward
The HEALTH Research Institute will get a $2 million grant to help prevent and treat obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the city's Third Ward, a place that can often slip through the health care cracks. The program, scheduled to launch later this spring, is expected to reach 5,000 residents in the next three years, program organizers said. It is being funded by a grant from United Health Foundation, the nonprofit charitable arm of UnitedHealth Group, the insurance giant's parent company.
Watch Dr. Ezemenari Obasi and Dr. Dan O'Connor discuss the UHF grant on Fox26 Houston below.
Special News & Events: The HEALTH Research Institute officially launches
The University of Houston released its official announcement of the HEALTH Research Institute.
Co-founded by Dr. Ezemenari Obasi and Dr. Lorraine Reitzel, the interdisciplinary group of scientists behind the HEALTH Research Institute will focus on making improvements within communities that bear a disproportionate burden of disease and who are oftentimes disenfranchised, marginalized or underserved. “The University of Houston is embedded in one of the largest and most diverse metropolitan areas in the nation,” Obasi said. “We are committed to advancing science and practice to improve the health and, ultimately, the lives of those we interact with every day.”
Dr. Lorraine Reitzel Leads Taking Texas Tobacco Free Initiative
Dr. Lorraine Reitzel highlights the important work of the Taking Texas Tobacco Free program sponsored by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas in this article from the UH College of Education.
Dr. Lorraine Reitzel's Study Featured in Article on Income and Obesity
UH's The Daily Cougar profile on the link between fast food in low-income areas and obesity references study by Dr. Lorraine Reitzel, co-director of the HEALTH Research Institute.
Research by Dr. Lorraine Reitzel featured in Atlanta Black Star
Dr. Reitzel, co-director of the HEALTH REsearch Institute, is quoted in Atlanta Black Star that focuses on her study published in the American Journal of Public Health on the link between fast-food restaurant proximity and higher BMI found in African-American population.
Dr. Ezemenari Obasi awarded $2.5 Million to Study Effects of Stress on Substance Abuse
A five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) / National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) will support research from the University of Houston College of Education to investigate mechanisms that influence drug-related health disparities in the African-American community. Ezemenari M. Obasi, co-director of the HEALTH Research Institute, will lead research in Harris county and eight surrounding urban and rural counties. He says the development of drug use and abuse in the African-American community is often informed by research that rarely include African-Americans or their social and cultural experiences.
Read the full press release
Taking Texas Tobacco Free & CPRIT Conference
Watch Dr. Ezemenari Obasi and Dr. Dan O'Connor discuss the UHF grant on Fox26 Houston
Dr. Ezemenari Obasi published in Frontiers in Psychology
Copyright © 2017 HEALTH Research Institute - All Rights Reserved.