U of M receives two NIH grants to research children's cardiovascular health

The University of Minnesota received two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, totaling more than $6.5 million, to research cardiovascular health among a diverse population of children.

Led by Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE, a professor of family medicine and community health at the U of M Medical School, the grants will fund an interdisciplinary study with the Medical School, School of Public Health, Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Minnesota Population Center.

Specifically, the research will:

  • Examine how psychosocial stress puts children at higher risk for cardiovascular disease later in life, and ultimately health inequities by race and ethnicity.
  • Understand how cardiometabolic risk arises from food insecurity during childhood and identify malleable factors for intervention to buffer the negative health impact of food insecurity on adolescents' cardiometabolic health.

These studies are poised to address highly impactful problems that are driven by social and structural determinants of health in school-aged children and adolescents, including both psychosocial stress and food insecurity. Findings from these studies will inform the development of interventions to promote health equity in addressing cardiovascular disease risk in children that will be implemented in primary care settings to benefit all children and families."

Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE, professor of family medicine and community health, U of M Medical School

These studies are funded by NIH. Once the research from the study is completed, the research team plans to publish their data in peer-reviewed journals and to co-disseminate findings with community members back to primary care settings and the broader community.

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