Healthy Eating and Activity Across the Lifespan (HEAL)

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Healthy Eating and Activity Across the Lifespan (HEAL) is an initiative supported by the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

The main goal is to address weight-related health disparities through the integration of research, clinical practice, policy and community resources.

HEAL is co-directed by Jerica Berge and Marilyn "Susie" Nanney. The core faculty include Cailtin Caspi, Katie Loth, and Steven Stovitz. The key staff are Amanda Trofholz, and Kate Grannon.

Key functions of HEAL

  • Conduct research
  • Train students and faculty
  • Partner with community initiatives
  • Fund projects that use integrated approaches to address dietary and physical activity issues across the lifespan through a health equity lens

HEAL team members Kate Grannon, MPH, Caitlin Caspi, ScD, Marilyn “Susie” Nanney, PhD, Katie Loth, PhD, Amanda Trofholz, MPH, Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, Margaret Adamek, PhD, and Steve Stovitz, MD, MS.

HEAL team members. Back row, from left to right, are Kate Grannon, Caitlin Caspi, Marilyn “Susie” Nanney, Katie Loth, and Amanda Trofholz. Front row, from left to right, are Jerica Berge, Margaret Adamek, and Steven Stovitz.

Mission

HEAL integrates research, clinical practice, community resources, and policy to improve healthy eating and activity across the lifespan.

Vision

HEAL inspires a culture of health through innovative partnerships.

Values

HEAL adopts a health equity lens for all facets of its integration work to inspire a culture of health.

  • Pioneering: Be groundbreaking leaders in the field; remain curious and creative
  • Collaborative: Cultivate an organizational culture of shared power; be trustworthy, authentic, inclusive, and respectful partners
  • Strategic: Pursue clear goals with focused intention; anticipate and implement cutting-edge strategies; ensure meaningful impact 
  • Accountable: Be transparent, communicative, and timely with partners
  • Sustainable: Build capacity among ourselves and partners; mentor the next generation of integrators; maintain lasting partnerships
  • Rigorous: Be thorough and evidence-based in our approach to high-quality integration, research, evaluation, and dissemination; commit to excellence

Funding opportunities

We seek to support creative pilot projects that are broadly focused on healthy eating and physical activity and have the long-term potential for meaningful and measurable impact on local community health.

Successful projects will demonstrate use of an “integrated approach” to connect:

  • Community resources
  • Research
  • Clinical practice
  • Policy

We expect to support one to two pilot projects with a total budget of up to $20,000 each.

The required letter of interest must be submitted by Friday, January 13, 2017, at 5 pm CST. Submissions are accepted online at z.umn.edu/healfunding.

For more information, please see our full Request for Letters of Interest.

Current projects

Please check back in January 2017 to see newly funded projects.

Publications and media

Publications are underway.

Core faculty

Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CLFE

Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CLFE, is a tenured associate professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She is both a researcher and a behavioral medicine provider at the University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. Her primary research interest is examining risk and protective factors for childhood and adolescent obesity in the home environment.

Berge is the co-director of Healthy Eating and Activity across the Lifespan (HEAL), which focuses on integration across research, clinical practice, policy, and community resources to inspire a culture of health.

She also serves as an associate director of the University of Minnesota Citizen Professional Center, which conducts and promotes community-based participatory research on problems of concern to communities and professionals.


Marilyn S. Nanney PhD, RD

Marilyn S. “Susie” Nanney, PhD, RD is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota where she leads the population health research area in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She is the co-founder and co-director of HEAL.

Her research focuses on obesity prevention interventions, nutrition policy research, and health disparities. Nanney has more than 15 years of experience conducting healthy eating and physical activity studies in partnership with community-based organizations and translating research findings to recommended actions for policy makers.

Nanney is a 2016-17 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow.


Caitlin Caspi, ScD

Caitlin Caspi, ScD, joined the University of Minnesota Family Medicine and Community Health research faculty in 2014. She was a fellow in the University of Minnesota Cancer-Related Health Disparities Education and Career Development Program where she explored the social and physical environment as a determinant of health behaviors in low-income urban residents. Caspi also conducted research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts for six years. She earned her ScD from Harvard University in social epidemiology.


Katie Loth, PhD, MPH, RD

Katie Loth, PhD, MPH, RD, is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She is both a researcher and a dietitian at the University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. Her research explores social and environmental influences on child and adolescent weight status and disordered eating behaviors. Specifically, she is interested in identifying ways that parents can work to help their children develop and maintain a healthy weight and a healthy relationship with their bodies.


Steven Stovitz, MD, MS

Steven Stovitz, MD, MS, directs the University of Minnesota Program in Sports Medicine. He also serves as medical director at the University of Minnesota Physicians Sports Medicine Clinic. His clinical work is divided between the University of Minnesota departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Intercollegiate Athletics, where he is a team physician for University of Minnesota athletes. Stovitz’s primary research involves a variety of issues in the study of obesity. He also is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a senior associate editor at the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Key staff

Kate Grannon, MPH, RD

Kate Grannon MPH, RD, is a project manager in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. The research she manages focuses on healthy hunger relief, obesity prevention, and nutrition policy. She has more than three years of experience in project management on research studies that are community-engaged and health equity-focused. Contact her at youn1286@umn.edu.


Amanda Trofholz, MPH, RD

Amanda Trofholz, MPH, RD, is a project director in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She manages several research studies exploring the association between risk and protective factors in the home environment and childhood obesity. Trofholz also brings experience in both community-based and qualitative research. Contact her at trofh002@umn.edu.

Contact

For more information, please e-mail us at heal@umn.edu.