UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Social Science Research Institute’s Evidence-to-Impact podcast returns with its 20th episode, “Chronic Diseases: Underserved Communities, Prevention, and Genetic Factors.”
The podcast’s moderator, Michael Donovan, the associate director of the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative, spoke to Lindsay Fernández-Rhodes, assistant professor of biobehavioral health and the director of Epidemiology and Genetics across Populations and Societies Laboratory at Penn State, and Amy Flaherty, director of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Department of Health, about public health, epidemiology, prevention work, and the influence of genetics and our environment on our health.
On the social determinants of health, a topic the podcast has covered before, Fernández-Rhodes talked about working with marginalized or understudied populations, particularly Hispanic-Latinos. She mentioned that Hispanic-Latino families experience grave wealth gaps compared to white families, which makes it difficult for them to self-advocate or navigate through certain systems like immigration.
“The median income of a non-Hispanic white family is roughly around eight times that of a Hispanic-Latino family,” said Fernández-Rhodes. “So, this poverty serves as a sort of upstream social determinant of health that’s going to impact diet, physical activity, the ability to shape the lived experienced of someone.”
Flaherty discussed numerous efforts that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has made in terms of prevention and programming for helping individuals with diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses.
“I feel like if it was a simple issue to solve, we would’ve solved it by now,” said Flaherty. “Recognizing those complexities in the variety of upstream factors, we try to develop and implement programs that can address people in the communities in which they live, work, learn, and play.”
After their discussion, Fernández-Rhodes and Flaherty concluded that strong partnerships between researchers and government employees could enhance collective awareness and knowledge about chronic diseases, genetics and prevention work.
Listen to the full episode here.
The Evidence-to-Impact Podcast focuses on conversations between Penn State researchers from varied disciplines and government partners from across the commonwealth about relevant policy issues like poverty, criminal justice, substance use, and healthcare. The discussions aim to bridge the gap between research insights and real-world solutions through the translation of complex evidence and data into real-world implications and impacts.
Episodes are made available for multiple platforms including Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Blubrry and more. Find previous episodes on the podcast’s website or follow the podcast on Twitter for updates.