Monday, November 30, 2015

Dr. Jessie Klein

In the season of thankfulness and gratitude, Dr. Jessie Klein, associate professor in sociology and criminal justice continues to work with New York City schools on empathy building and kindness conversation trainings. 

Here are photos from Harvest Collegiate High School at 34 W 14th Street:

Dr. Jessie Klein, Adelphi University Associate Professor in sociology and criminal justice leading an empathy-building training at Harvest Collegiate High School, one of several New York City recipients of her Creating Compassionate Communities (CCC) program for teachers, students and parents/caregivers. CCC, identified as a Center for Health Innovation priority to achieve significantly higher levels of health & well-being for the next generation, works to combat the adverse effects of social pressures on young people and reach students with warmth and compassion.

 At Harvest Collegiate High School, teachers participate in monthly empathy building trainings to create safe and nurturing environments in order to help prevent violence and eradicate bullying. The hands-on activities support healthy school communities.

Photo Credits: Statia Grossman

Monday, November 23, 2015

Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation Selected for a PCORI Pipeline to Proposal Award for Capacity and Partnership Building

In honor of November being Native American Heritage Month & National Diabetes Month, we share this story about an initiative which highlights the Unkechaug Nation members living with diabetes and opening up about the challenges for a community-based effort focused on education and lifestyle modification and prevention programs.

Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation Selected for a PCORI Pipeline to Proposal Award for Capacity and Partnership Building
Focused on Native American Health and Wellness: Reservation-Based Diabetes and Obesity Prevention

In April of this year, The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) announced that the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation was approved for funding for the Native American Health and Wellness: Reservation-Based Diabetes and Obesity Prevention project.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) accepted only 17 percent of Tier I project proposals through the community building “Pipeline to Proposal” Awards program, which enables patients, advocacy groups, clinicians, and others who are not usual candidates for research funding to forge relationships around topics of mutual interest and together develop proposals for patient-centered comparative effectiveness research.

Elizabeth Gross Cohn, Ph.D., RN, director of the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, which strives to bring together interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students from across the university to find innovative ways of creating a culture of health, community-by-community across Long Island, serves as the principal investigator for the project. Dr. Cohn, a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar, is also an appointed member of the New York State Minority Health and Health Equity Council, a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the New York Academy of Sciences.

“We were honored to have been selected to receive funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for our work with UNITED,” said Cohn, director of the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation. “This project exemplifies our mission at the Center for Health Innovation, to improve the health of communities by focusing on priority issues identified from the community. Our work harnesses novel partnerships and collaboration with experts in our region. We look forward to this work and to programs in the future that promote health and wellness for all of our residents in Long Island and beyond.” Now, over six months later, Dr. Cohn remains excited about the partnership. “We are delighted to be in partnership,” said Cohn, “and we are looking forward to our kick-off event and next steps. “

The project, a three-way collaboration between the Unkechaug Nation, Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation and Winthrop-University Hospital Diabetes and Obesity Institute, combines the unique medical expertise and patient population to improve diabetes care on the Poospatuck Reservation in Mastic, NY. Co-investigator of the project is Harry B. Wallace, the chief of the Unkechaug Nation. Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE, executive director of the Diabetes and Obesity Institute at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, serves as a consultant.

For decades, Winthrop’s Diabetes Education Center has provided people living with diabetes with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to successfully manage their condition and avoid complications. The Diabetes Education Center was the first nationally accredited outpatient education program in New York State and it continues to offer comprehensive education and support to adults and children with diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Native Americans develop diabetes at a rate of 33%–three times greater than Whites and twice that of African Americans. People of all races living with diabetes experience are two to four times greater risk of developing stroke, hypertension, kidney disease, dental and periodontal disease, and blindness. Recently, the members of the Unkechaug Nation have become increasingly concerned about the exponentially rising rate of diabetes on their reservation, as the numbers reflect the national trends. But a window of opportunity exists when lifestyle modifications can stop or significantly delay the progression of disease from pre-diabetes to diabetes type 2. These changes in diet and exercise are best initiated at the community–level, tailored so that they meet the needs of those who are using them.

The Unkechaug Nation’s Initiative to End Diabetes (UNITED) collaborative proposes to:
(1)   Outline a set of partnership steps for a community-based effort focused on education and lifestyle modification
(2)   Explore and design infrastructure for community-engaged research on the reservation
(3)   Develop a governance structure that would support applications for future funding opportunities
(4)   Formulate metrics for a measurable outreach plan
(5)   Develop a guide for other reservations who wish to adapt pre-diabetes and diabetes prevention programs.

To learn more about the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, visit For more information about diabetes care at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit About the history of the Unkechaug Nation, go to their Facebook Page. For additional information about PCORI’s funding awards, visit

About Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation
Adelphi University’s Center for Health Innovation (CHI) is the primary resource in our region for innovative, multidisciplinary, evidence-based responses to improving healthcare, healthcare systems, and public health. It brings together many from professional and academic backgrounds to create and foster community-focused, interdisciplinary academic programming, healthcare research, community partnerships, and leadership—all with the goal of meeting current and emergent healthcare needs.

About Winthrop-University Hospital
Winthrop is a 591-bed teaching hospital located on Long Island in Mineola, NY. A major regional healthcare resource, the Hospital offers a full complement of inpatient and outpatient services delivered by an outstanding medical staff using the most sophisticated medical technology available. The Hospital recently opened a state-of-the-art 95,000 square-foot Research & Academic Center that includes core laboratories, a clinical trial center and classrooms for medical students. In addition to research on diabetes, obesity and the cardiometabolic complications that arise from those conditions, Winthrop’s new Research & Academic Center will focus on other pressing national and local health issues, including reducing premature births and treating conditions related to aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Designing Healthy Cities to Reverse Obesity and NCD Epidemics Columbia University EPIC Program, June 1-5, 2015

by: Adelphi’s CHI Summer Scholar Diane Dembicki, PhD, LMT, CYT, Clinical Associate Professor & Director of the online MS Nutrition Program College of Nursing & Public Health, Adelphi University

This course was about the built environment of cities, particularly New York City, and how it impacts active living and healthy eating, as well as successful policy and practice interventions and strategies for improvement.  It emphasized non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—obesity, diabetes, heart disease—which are the leading causes of death globally and obesity is rising rapidly.  Obesity risk factors can be impacted, for better or worse, by the built environment—buildings, streets, and communities.

The instructor was Dr. Karen Lee and the staff at the other locales we visited.  The classroom lectures were mixed with field trips from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University to a healthy living housing project in the Bronx to a healthy and green environment global architect team in East Harlem to healthy urban designs at the NYC Department of Planning in lower Manhattan to an educational walk on the High Line from end to end.  It was truly experiential as we practiced what we learned.

I designed and teach NUT553 Nutrition and Obesity which is halfway through the MS in Nutrition Program (“making a difference in community health and quality of life”) and which the inaugural cohort recently completed.  It is planned that these graduate students, and the subsequent cohorts who follow, as they are taught by experts in the discipline with the most up-to-date experience and training, such as this EPIC course, will eventually be applying what they learn, conducting research, developing programs, and contributing to the health of today’s society.  When the MS in Nutrition Program was first developed, former Adelphi University President Robert Scott, in wanting to do something about the health of Long Island residents after the CSI Vital Signs reports, suggested it have courses concerning three of the top NCD epidemics—obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (all three of which have related risk factors and are co-morbidities)—and it does.  Besides NUT553, I designed NUT554 Nutrition and Diabetes and NUT558 Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease, heart disease being the number one cause of death in the U.S.

The NCDs obesity and diabetes have related risk factors and are co-morbidities.  It was last Spring that one of the Nutrition graduate students, Allison Riccardi, in an independent study with me on Diabetes Prevention Programs focusing on Native Americans, visited the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research that topic.  At the National Library of Medicine (NLM) there, we were given a personal curator-led tour of the special Native American exhibit called "Native Voices".  At that time, on the NLM real time digital screen, the most searched word was Diabetes.  Over this Summer, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) announced the CHI was approved funding for a grant focused on Native American Health and Wellness—the Reservation-Based Diabetes and Obesity Prevention Project.  This is a three-way collaboration between the Adelphi University CHI, the Unkechaug Nation, and Winthrop University Hospital Diabetes and Obesity Institute to improve diabetes care on the Poospatuck Reservation in Mastic, NY.  It all comes together for evidence-based community health.