Faculty Research Highlights
Dr. Adolfo G. Cuevas receives Tufts CTSI Career Development Award (KL2)
This award is provided to junior faculty to conduct multidisciplinary clinical/patient-oriented research for a period of two years. This federally funded program provides the faculty with a team of highly-trained experts to foster the development and implementation of the mentored research project.
Achieving or maintaining a heathy weight has been shown to decrease chronic disease risk and improve quality of life. However, body weight is hindered by a complex interaction of environmental, biological, cultural, and cognitive factors. A National Institute of Health working group recently suggested that up-stream contributors to weight gain and regain, such as biological effects of stress, need to be considered in approaches to weight loss. While lifestyle behaviors have been shown to have profound impacts on weight, the contribution of psychological and social stress (psychosocial stress) to the risk of weight gain has been understudied. Using the Health and Retirement Study, this project will (1) longitudinally examine the association multiple types of stressors and the risk of overweight/obesity across race/ethnicity, (2) longitudinally examine the association between multiple types of stressors and obesity-related inflammation across race/ethnicity, and (3) longitudinally examine the protective effects of social resources on psychosocial stress and risk of overweight/obesity and obesity-related inflammation across race/ethnicity. : Defining the relationship between psychosocial stress and overweight/obesity will provide the foundation for developing an intervention protocol that seeks to reduce the impact of stress, improve BMI, and contribute to Tufts CTSI's mission.
Dr. Keren Ladin named Greenwall Faculty Scholar
Dr. Keren Ladin was recently named as Greenwall Faculty Scholar by the Greenwall Foundation. The Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics is a career development award to enable junior faculty members to carry out innovative bioethics research. This award supports research that goes beyond current work in bioethics to help resolve pressing ethical issues in clinical care, biomedical research, and public policy.
Dr. Ladin's project incorporates bioethics, social psychology, and health services approaches to examine disparities in transplantation and in access to health care more broadly.
Although social support is routinely assessed during transplant candidate evaluation, we hypothesize that inconsistent definitions of social support and evaluation procedures may result in unequal treatment of patients with limited support. We hypothesize that clinicians have unconscious bias in favor of more socially connectedness patients, and that this bias will be significantly associated with waitlist decisions. Clinicians may experience moral distress and cognitive dissonance, which occurs when actions (using a discriminatory criterion) do not align with values (treating all patients fairly). Perspective-taking interventions, more supportive center-level and Medicaid policies, and reforming the social support criterion may be needed to reduce this source of bias and ensure equal access to solid organ transplantation.