MIDAS Study Awarded Two Diversity Supplements by NHLBI

MIDAS Study Awarded Two Diversity Supplements by NHLBI

The Mother and Infant Determinants of vascular Aging Study (MIDAS) has been awarded two research supplements to promote diversity by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). These funding opportunities are crucial for developing the research careers of students, post-doctorates, and investigators from diverse backgrounds, especially those belonging to groups underrepresented in health research as they contribute to a more equitable career landscape.

Michelle Meyer, PhD, MPH, and Kim Boggess, MD, are the MIDAS principal investigators.

The overall goal of MIDAS, which is supported by the UNC Center for Women’s Health Research, is to identify and mitigate early markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) for pregnant women and their offspring. CVD is the leading cause of death for U.S. women, annually killing more than 400,000 women. Compared to whites, non-Hispanic Black and Latina women are at higher CVD risk. Despite the burden of CVD in women, risk factors specific to women are understudied and thus not considered in current CVD risk prediction or prevention strategies. Since prenatal and postpartum care is the sole health care access point for most U.S. women, pregnancy represents a critical opportunity to measure CVD risk and implement innovative strategies to address this critical gap in women’s health care.

Malia Blue, PhD, received an award of $528,887 to investigate the relationship between gestational weight gain (GWG) and increased CVD risk during pregnancy. In the general population, excess fat accumulation and certain distribution patterns accelerate vascular aging. However, as the composition of GWG is scarcely reported, there is a knowledge gap in understanding whether the vascular aging response is associated these changes during pregnancy and postpartum. Blue is an assistant professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Exercise and Sport Science.

Forgive Avorgbedor, PhD, RN, was awarded $544,836 to focus on structural racism and CVD risk in pregnant women and their infants. As race is a social construct rather than a biological one, ethnicity and race alone cannot explain the disparities in cardiometabolic complications in pregnancy. These inequalities may be explained in part by structural racism, which includes neighborhood, environment, and residential segregation. Avorgbedor is an assistant professor in the UNC Greensboro School of Nursing.

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