Howell Foundation Awards Second Grant for Community Health-Focused Research

  • Howell Foundation’s Community Engagement Initiative awarded its 2nd grant to support women’s health research through its partnership with the SDSU Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBACH)
  • The “Intuitive Eating Intervention to Curb Weight Gain in Female College Students” involves an innovative health intervention to reduce weight gain that is common among first year, female college students
  • The first Howell Community Engagement Initiative grant is being carried out in partnership with the Women, Infant and Children program. This study is assessing the efficacy of a program designed to increase physical activity and healthy eating in pregnant Latino women. 


Dr. Hala Madanat
San Diego, CA.- The Doris A. Howell Foundation announced that it has awarded its second Community Engagement Initiative Grant to Hala Madanat, Ph.D. Dr. Madanat is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science at San Diego State University. 
     
According to Dr. Madanat, college women typically gain between 4-15 pounds during their early college years.  Her research focuses on curbing that weight gain by teaching first-year college women new information and skills about food and body image. A goal is to increase the ability to consider and respond to their biological needs intuitively and to increase awareness of the social, physical and emotional conditions that may trigger overeating.
“This project is of great importance because the majority of that weight is gained during the first year”, Madanat comments.    Awareness of proper nutrition and exercise behaviors should demonstrate the relationship between self-esteem, eating styles, depression, physical activity, eating behaviors, and sleep. 
The Howell Foundation has been able to fund these grants through the generous contributions of Howell Foundation supporters.  The Howell Foundation’s partnership with IBACH (Institute for Behavioral and Community Health) provides an excellent opportunity to work with world class academic researchers who understand the needs of women in the greater San Diego community.   “I have been extremely impressed with the Foundation’s role in empowering young women and encouraging their role in science and research. I also have attended one of their educational evening events and believe that these provide an important venue for educating women about their heath and that of their families.  I am also extremely grateful for the Foundation’s support of the research IBACH does to better understand women’s health”, comments Dr. Madanat.   
Picture by Carolyn Northrup
Dr. Howell with Dr. Elva Arredondo,
first recipient of the CEI Grant
The Howell Foundation launched its Community Engagement Initiative back in 2012, with a grant awarded to Dr. Elva Arredondo, who is currently studying health behaviors involving nutrition and exercise and its effects in pregnant Latina Women.  In funding these research projects, the Foundation hopes to educate women on current women’s health issues that impact their lives and encourage women to become advocates for their own health. 
Dr. Madanat’s study is funded through 2015 and will enroll 40 first year college females who will be randomized to either a 12-week intuitive eating educational intervention or to a control group that does not receive the intervention. She hopes to demonstrate that those in the intervention arm will not gain weight when compared with those who were in the control. Additionally, she anticipates better health measures including cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose.  
Since the Howell Foundation Community Engagement Initiative was launched in 2012, a sub-committee led by Camille Nebeker (Foundation Board Member and member of the UC San Diego Family and Preventive Medicine faculty) has developed and tested procedures for the CEI grant application and review process.  The application is modeled after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mechanism to initiate collection of preliminary data necessary for most large grant proposals. Likewise, the application review process engages academic researchers from local universities who provide a critical review and score each proposal according to established criteria.  Proposals are assessed for their impact on women’s health, strength of the academic-community partnership, potential for sustainability, research design, investigator qualifications and feasibility of accomplishing study goals. 
“Women’s health awareness starts with research, and funding women-focused health studies provides the insight to create the educational tools necessary to promote women’s health advocacy”, comments Foundation Chair Pattie Wellborn.  “Our partnership with IBACH allows women’s health awareness to be disseminated in the community”, she concludes.  


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About IBACH:
The Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBACH) was established in 1982 for the purpose of promoting research and academic programs relevant to the applications of behavioral science principles to medicine and health care. This interdisciplinary institute includes a focus on community interventions and attempts to promote and foster active collaboration by researchers and community partners from many different specialties and institutions, including the University of California at San Diego, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, San Ysidro Health Center and Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo.  IBACH also provides important research experience to students who intend to pursue related careers and offers opportunities for project staff and graduate students to participate in community interventions.
About Dr. Hala Madanat:
Dr. Hala Madanat is an associate professor of health promotion at San Diego State University. She is a medical sociologist with strong interest in the role of culture, traditions, and western influence on health in the global setting. Her research focuses on the impact of westernization on diet and nutrition and has been working on developing nutrition education programs that emphasize health and biological hunger with emphasis on the Middle East and Middle-eastern populations in the US.
About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health;   providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.    

For more information about the Doris A. Howell Foundation, please visit www.howellfoundation.org. 

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