UCLA pediatrician receives grant to study behaviors that lead to pediatric obesity

UCLA Health article

Dr. Alma Guerrero

Dr. Alma Guerrero, assistant professor of pediatrics at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), to research racial and ethnic disparities in dietary behaviors that lead to obesity among California children and examine the family and neighborhood factors associated with these dietary behaviors.

"As the daughter of Mexican immigrant working-class parents, I have always had an interest in working with vulnerable populations," said Guerrero. "During medical school, I was influenced by the growing problem of obesity among very young Latino children receiving care in our clinic. It became clear that there are significant racial and ethnic disparities in childhood obesity and that many complex factors contribute to it.  This project will define a better understanding of the cultural, family and community factors shaping dietary behaviors in childhood obesity and hopefully lead to improvements for communities that have disproportionately high rates of obesity."

Guerrero is among a select group of junior investigators to receive the prestigious two-year grant through the RWJF's New Connections program designed to introduce new scholars to the foundation and mentor early to mid-career scholars who represent historically underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college graduates, or individuals from low-income communities.

"We are thrilled to welcome Alma to a program that reflects the Foundation's commitment to increasing the diversity in our grant making and in the broader fields of health research," said Debra Pérez, assistant vice-president for research and evaluation at RWJF. "More than a grant opportunity, New Connections serves as a lifelong professional network for diverse researchers and evaluators."

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, RWJF works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more information, visit rwjf.org.

UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, one of the highest-rated children's hospitals in California and a vital component of the UCLA Health, offers a full spectrum of primary and specialized medical care for infants, children and adolescents. The hospital's mission is to provide state-of-the-art treatment for children in a compassionate atmosphere and to improve the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases. For more information, visit uclahealth.org/mattel.

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